LeBron James and his GOAT colleagues Tom Brady, George Clooney and Beyoncé are at the top when it comes to timeless genetic freaks.
James avoided the effects of aging so well that he should probably appear in those “DOCTORS HATE HIM” ads / memes (He’s 60 years old but looks 30! Here’s how he did it with a weird trick!) .
But LeBron is mortal too, despite what we’ve seen of him. In his first 15 seasons, James played 94 percent of all possible regular season games, a truly staggering feat of endurance.
Since then, it has appeared in 74 percent of the games. That’s still a healthy number that some players can only dream of. But it’s a decline nonetheless.
After surviving his first 15 years with barely a scratch, James has suffered two serious injuries in the past three seasons. In 2018-19 he missed 20 games with a groin strain and 27 games with a high ankle sprain last season.
Usually this might not be that big of a deal. But that was a man who never was injured. These injuries were the first sign that he was not invincible. For James, 36, all those miles were finally starting to take their toll. He was no longer sure that he was healthy every night.
Combine that with his decreasing minutes and scoring values over the past four seasons and it’s interesting to consider what all of this means for LeBron, who tops Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the all-time list.
While James would hit the record of 39 games in the 2022-23 season if he kept last season’s scores and never missed a game, here are some more likely ways things could play out:
WHEN LEBRON CONTINUES ITS LAST PRODUCTION
By the season, LeBron suffered his first serious injury, averaging 25.9 points in 74 percent of all possible games. If he kept that for the foreseeable future, he would break Kareem’s record in his 56thNS Game of the 2022/23 season, his last year of contract with the Lakers.
If James continued with the scoring production and proportion of games played that he has managed since 2019-20, the first Lakers season that he had a Superstar teammate to ease the burden, he would put Kareem in his 60thNS Game of the 2022/23 season.
And when you consider that LeBron has played 74 percent of the games since arriving in LA, it’s 60NS Game Projects will be his last game of the season.
If James was playing or scoring just slightly below his Lakers averages, he would have to wait until the start of the 2023/24 season to become the all-time top scorer.
WHEN LEBRON SELECTED ITS MINUTES
Entering his 19thNS Season and with a huge amount of skilled help around him, James could decide that it is finally time to cut his regular season playing time significantly.
Its minutes have decreased every year for the past five years, but only very slightly. So let’s say James decides to bring it in to about 30 minutes per game after spending an average of 33.4 minutes last season.
If he qualifies for the same proportion of available games that he has played since his appointment as Laker while hitting at the same rate per minute, he would break Kareem’s record at his 16NS Game of the 2023/24 season.
At this point, James would be in his 21st birthday.NS Season and is 39 years old. Of course, an injury beyond anything he’s already suffered would delay things even further.
But even if things don’t go exactly according to plan, there is no doubt that LeBron will eventually make it. The only thing to be doubted is whether anyone will ever catch him.