Regardless of where you place him historically, one thing has become clear, LeBron James is the GOAT of longevity. No one has been this dominant this deep into a career.
James isn’t entering the golden years of a career enjoying the sunset while playing a couple of shifts a night, giving us occasional glimpses of the player he used to be. He’s still the engine that drives the Lakers, clocking in 33.8 minutes a game along with his 25.7 points, 8.1 rebounds and 6.7 assists.
James’ dominance is not lost on his head coach, Darvin Ham, who sang his praises during his pregame presser before the matchup versus the Utah Jazz.
“I think we’re witnessing something that’s unprecedented,” Ham said. “For him to be at that age, at this point in time in his NBA tenure and what he’s able to do still is unprecedented in my opinion. Especially being a predominantly perimeter player. Obviously, he can go in the post and get things done but the majority part of his career, he’s been on the perimeter and it’s hard. There’s more movement. It’s not all banging and standing in the paint. It’s getting out on the perimeter, guarding tough match-ups, going against tough match-ups, him being the focal point throughout his entire career of the opposing team’s defense.”
James was his usual dominant self in the NBA In-Season tournament victory versus the Jazz. He scored 17 points on 60% shooting as the Lakers blew out the Jazz. The win was historic not only because it clinched West Group A for the Lakers in pursuit of the NBA Cup but also because James’ wing three in the first quarter placed him in a solo club of NBA players who have scored 39,000 points.
With the easy win and the historic milestone, Ham had some fun postgame with James.
“We should all be appreciative what we’re witnessing,” Ham said following the win. “It’s only 39,000, not 40, so he didn’t get the game ball tonight. He gets 40, he’ll get the game ball.”
There should be more game balls and milestones for James to reach this year as he’s currently seventh all-time in three-pointers made—129 behind Damian Lillard for sixth all-time and still going for the In-Season trophy as well as the Larry O’Brien.
Year 21 is already a historic one for the King and predicting when a fall-off will occur is an exercise in futility. For now, fans should appreciate his greatness because Father Time is undefeated and although when his career ends is unknown, the time is nearing.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.