This year in the NBA is unlike it ever has been before. There are super-teams, reunited friends, and exceptional rookies. Last season we saw a record setting MVP display game in and game out by the sensational Russell Westbrook. The Warriors won the NBA title for the 2nd time in three years. LeBron carried his team back to the NBA finals again for the third time in a row. And speaking of LeBron James, it seemed as if he was getting ready to “pass the torch” to younger teammate Kyrie Irving to be the face and leader of the Cavalier’s organization. However, Kyrie left before that could happen, and an aging LeBron is faced with the challenge to carry his team once again to the NBA finals, without Kyrie’s dynamic playmaking.
So, the question becomes, can an older, game-torn LeBron James give what it takes to carry his team to a championship, this year and the years to follow?
It is a fact that as athletes get older, they just can’t perform the same way as they could when they get older. Therefore, it is always a topic of discussion on sports talk shows as whether older athletes can get the job done, and are they worth the salary cap space. Now it is clear that age plays a much bigger role in the NFL than in the NBA, NHL, or MLS, but age still matters.
Now on to LeBron James. He has been in the league for 14 years, yet he turns 33 in 17 days. So, he has been in the league for a relatively long time, but his body is not quite deteriorating yet, or so science would claim. It is clear that he isn’t the same athlete that he was 10 years ago, but his ability to control the game hasn’t changed. This season, LeBron is on pace to have the best statistical season of his career. Yes, that’s right. After 14 seasons, he is hitting his highest numbers. He currently averages 28.2 points per game, 8.2 rebounds per game, and 9 assists per game. 28 games into the season, he is 5th on his highest point average list, and 1st on both his rebounds and assists’ lists. He is also having his best field goal percentage and three-point field goal percentage marks, at 58.3% and 42.2% respectively. So, are his stats helping the Cavaliers win? Absolutely, before Monday night, they were on a 13-game win streak heavily aided by LeBron himself, with several game winners.
For a player to be compared to the likes of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, to be playing your best season at the age of 33, 14 years in the league, is remarkable. LeBron James is defying the dreaded age barrier and is leaping over it as only an obstacle towards greatness.