It’s not possible to defeat Father Time. We all know this. But
that doesn’t mean that LeBron James isn’t going to go 12 rounds
At 37 years old, it’s incredible that LeBron is able to play at
such a high level. He’s averaging 25.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 6.8
assists per game, and has scored over 30 points in each of the
Lakers’ last three games.
The team is on a mission to win a championship, and it starts
with King James.
If there is a concern, though, it’s about how much longer
whether 'Bron is going to be able to hold up, because he’s missed
more games as he’s gotten older.
Just since he joined the Lakers, ‘Bron has had ankle pains,
issues with his groin and hamstring, and now this season, his
abdomen. He’s already missed 10 games due to injury this season,
and he's missed a total of 58 games in his first three seasons with
the Lakers. In other words, he missed 68 games since he joined the
Lakers just over three years ago. Meanwhile, he missed 71 games in
his first 14 years in the league, and played all 82 games in his
15th season in Cleveland.
He’s going to turn 37 years old in December, so it’s only
natural that his days of playing 70-80 games come to a close. At
this stage, all he’s playing for are championships, so there’s a
When he does play, though, LeBron is still a problem.
It’s incredible how he’s been able to defy time the way he
As a pro athlete, as you age and the miles on your body add up,
you begin to feel it. You notice a lot of little things that aren’t
necessarily injury-related. The day after a game, you feel soreness
in new places. You need to ice more. It takes you longer to recover
after playing, and things like that. When you first start to
experience it, you might even be in a bit of denial. Father Time
taking his toll on you is much different than getting a contact
If a guy hits you or you land awkwardly or something like that
and get hurt, it’s easy to understand why or how an injury happens.
And while I do think there are “wear and tear” injuries, I think
the correlation between those kinds of injuries and the age of a
player can be debated. Some guys play into their late 30s without
much issue. Meanwhile, lots of 20-year-old players have their
careers cut short due to injury.
As you get older you notice that your body breaks down. You lose
a couple steps, and you can’t get up and down the court as fast as
you were once able to. You slowly begin to notice that the players
who came after you just get younger and younger. You gotta try to
keep up with those guys and slowly begin to notice that you have a
harder time keeping them in front of you... That’s Father
And I’m sure that he hasn’t gotten a grasp on LeBron just yet.
The proof is in what he’s still able to produce on the court.
Based on what we see when he’s on the floor — even though the
injuries look like they’re taking a toll on him — the games
LeBron’s missed over the past few years are more about injuries and
load management and about trying to keep him fresh for the playoffs
than it is about Father Time catching up with him.
Like I said, they’re going to end up going 12 rounds, and by the
looks of it, they’re maybe in the ninth or 10th.
It’s funny that it took all this time for ‘Bron to get “load
managed,” so to speak.
For as long as I’ve known him, he's had an old school mentality
of being one of those players who took pride in playing every game.
If you look back at his history, you’d see that LeBron regularly
played 78, 79, 80 games pretty much every year. Him staying healthy
all these years is a product of him taking good care of his body,
and maybe a little bit of good fortune.
Pretty much every player today can only dream of having the kind
of career he's had — four championships, four Finals MVPs, 17
All-Star selections and 17 All-NBA team selections. He’s one of the
greatest players ever, and what’s been most incredible is his
When I was coming up, and even up until my last few years in the
league, most players took a special sort of pride in playing all 82
games. It was kind of like a badge of honor that told everyone that
you were tough and durable. We always felt like the regular season
mattered, but I’m not sure today’s players, as a whole, feel the
same way. I know for a fact that many don’t. LeBron always has.
We first started hearing about load management with Gregg
Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs. When Tim Duncan and Manu
Ginobili were getting up there in age, Pop limited their minutes
because he wanted to extend their careers. It seems like it worked.
But there’s such a big difference between that and teams sitting
healthy, young players down because they’re afraid of guys playing
too many minutes.
It’s crazy that it doesn’t really seem like that was a concern
for LeBron in the early stages of his career and he’s lasted so
long. He’s obviously the exception, though. That’s why he’s
In the end, it makes me wonder how much we can actually control
whether guys get hurt by limiting their minutes or if it’s as
simple as some guys’ bodies not be able to withstand the punishment
they get over the course of a long season. At the end of the day,
everybody and everyone’s body is somewhat unique, and although
Father Time will eventually get the best of all of us, for
everyone, it happens on their own clock.
LeBron obviously still has a lot of sand left in that