Everyone with eyes has LeBron James in their top three players in the world, even though he will blow out 36 candles on his birthday cake today. Once an athlete steps on the wrong side of 30, the grays on his head hint at things to come. Like a judge in a boxing match, everyone starts to count down his career days. You can’t cheat father time. Or can you?
Sure, LeBron’s minutes are going down. For example, he played 3.384 minutes in 2004/05 in the regular season and 2.316 last season. In total, he played well over 50.000 minutes in his career, and he holds the record for most playoff minutes played. Asked about the fact he is still one of the most athletic players in the NBA at 36, LeBron recently explained:
“I train my body for whatever. I’m not your typical guy in his 18th season … I train my body for a marathon … they say if you stay ready, you never have to get ready.”LeBron James, Twitter
That type of commitment explains why he’s still an elite player. James spends over a million dollars on his fitness and physique every year. Since he entered the league in 2003, LeBron started relentlessly working with Mike Mancias, his trainer. They agreed on building a long-term plan that would see LeBron play deep into his thirties. Mancias completely took over all major aspects of LeBron’s fitness regime, and it is not enough to say that the plan succeeded.
This season will be even more challenging, considering the Lakers didn’t get much rest time. That means Lebron will probably not be much engaged on the defensive end of the floor in this part of the season. Also, the Lakers season will likely be long-lasting again, so LeBron will have to leave something in the tank for the most critical time – the playoffs. If he wins his fifth ring, that would be another testament to his basketball determination.