It’s an awful cliche by now that Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James continues to defy Father Time. The forward is 37-years-old but still continues to fly above the rim and outmuscle his foes. It’s hard to imagine that in the not-so-distant past, James admitted being fearful of Father Time.
In the middle of the 2014 NBA Finals, James reflected for a bit on his career. He spoke of the adjustments he’s made from his early years with the Cleveland Cavaliers to his then-current stint with the Miami Heat.
“I’ve changed my game since I’ve got to Miami in the sense that I was probably 75 to 85 per cent pick-and-rolls in Cleveland, and after that it was isolation,” he said. “Now I’m a third pick-and-rolls — no, I would say 40 per cent post-ups, 40 per cent pick-and-rolls, and not even as much iso (isolations). I would sprinkle it in, and I’ve changed my game since then and I will change my game. You have to,” James said, per the Toronto Star.
One adjusts his playstyle not just to accommodate new teammates or a new playbook. James, who was 29-years-old then, was well-aware that he needed to tweak his game as he gets older. There was even a hint of fear that once he turns 36, he won’t be able to fly high like he used to.
“Father Time is undefeated,” James said during the NBA final that resumes here with Game 3 on Tuesday night. “So me high flying and doing the things that I’m able to do now at 29, at 36 maybe I wouldn’t be able to do it. I will change my game again, if I want to continue to be helpful to a team.”
We’ve heard reports that James spends around $1 million on his body. A ludicrous amount if taken at face value, but it makes a lot of sense once you reflect on James’ illustrious career. We’ve heard analysts, critics, and fellow NBA players heap praise on James’ superhuman-like condition. His teammates have noticed how disciplined James is in taking care of his body. Offseasons aren’t reserved for rest and relaxation but for getting back to peak form.
In terms of playstyle, we can say that James has adapted very well. Gone are the days when defenders sag off him when he’s behind the 3-point line. James is no Stephen Curry, but it would be foolish to give him room to breathe.
Also, James’ legs aren’t light as they used to be. But his inherent understanding of the game remains fully intact. This has always been his greatest asset, and it’s been incredible to see James make good use of it at the tail-end of his career.