LeBron James is on par with fellow GOATs Tom Brady, George Clooney, and Beyoncé when it comes to ageless genetic monsters.
James has avoided the effects of aging so well that he should probably be featured in these ‘DOCTORS HAT IT’ commercials / memes (he’s 60 but looks 30! Here’s how he did it using a strange thing!).
But even LeBron is deadly, despite everything we’ve seen of him. In his first 15 seasons, James played in 94% of all possible regular season games, a truly astounding feat of endurance.
Since then he has appeared in 74% of matches. It’s still a healthy number and some players can only dream of. But it’s still a drop.
After going through his first 15 years with barely a scratch, James has suffered two major injuries in the past three seasons, missing 20 games with a groin injury in 2018-19 and 27 games with a sprained ankle. last season.
Normally, it might not be that bad. But he was a man who never was injured. These injuries were the first signs that he was not invincible. For James, 36, all those miles have finally started to take their toll. It was no longer a sure thing to be healthy every night.
Combine that with his diminishing minutes and scores in each of the past four seasons, and it’s interesting to consider what it all means for LeBron to overtake Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the all-time scorecard.
While James would win the record 39 games in the 2022-2023 season if he kept up last season’s scoring and didn’t miss a game, here are some more likely ways to play out:
IF LEBRON CONTINUES ITS RECENT PRODUCTION
By this season, LeBron suffered his first major injury, averaging 25.9 points while playing in 74% of all possible games. If he maintained this for the foreseeable future, he would break Kareem’s record in his 56e game of the 2022-23 season, his last year under contract with the Lakers.
If James were to continue the point production and proportion of games played he has managed since 2019-20, the Lakers’ first season in which he had a superstar teammate to lighten the load, he would overtake Kareem in his 60s.e game of the season 2022-23.
And given that LeBron has played in 74% of games since arriving in Los Angeles, his 60e game plans to be his last game of the season.
If James was playing or even scoring slightly below his Lakers averages, he would have to wait until the start of the 2023-24 season to become the all-time leading scorer.
IF LEBRON MAKES HIS MINUTES
Enter her 19e season, and with a huge amount of help from veterans around him, James may decide it’s finally time to dramatically cut his playing time in the regular season.
His minutes have declined every year for the past five years, but only very slightly. So let’s say James decides to take him down to around 30 minutes per game, after averaging 33.4 minutes last season.
If he adjusted to the same proportion of available games that he has played since becoming a Laker, while also scoring at the same rate per minute, he would break Kareem’s record in his 16e game of the season 2023-24.
At this point, James would be in his 21st season and approaching 39 years. Of course, an injury beyond anything he’s already suffered would delay matters further.
But even if things don’t go exactly as planned, there’s no doubt that LeBron will eventually get there. The only thing worth questioning is whether someone will ever catch it.