Oct 1, 2020
 in 
Sports

The Durability and Longevity of LeBron James Gives Him the Case for the GOAT

 BY 
Omar Abubakar
W

ith his 10th finals appearance in the Orlando bubble, LA Lakers Superstar LeBron James continues to amaze in his 17th season at age 35. He has led the league in assists this season with 10.2 and was the leader on and off the court for a Laker team that has thus far conducted gentlemen sweeps in the playoffs.

Stats

  • James is fifth player to reach the finals in three different decades.
  • He is 4th in total rebounds
  • 1st in triple doubles
  • 2nd all time in total points scored
  • 2nd in three pointers made
  • 2nd in total steals
  • 3rd in total assists
  • 4th in double doubles
  • 3rd in field goals made

Lebron Dominates

Needless to say, the dominance of LeBron James coupled with his out of this world longevity and durability could make him the best player of all time. After game 1's thrashing of the Miami Heat, the size on the Lakers frontcourt proved to be too much for Heat, and the odds heavily favor the Lakers.

The Laker roster is filled with hungry veterans who have don't take a moment for granted and accept their roles on the team without complaint. This adds to their chemistry and cohesion which translates to a strong performance on the court with a stronger attention to detail. LeBron has been the leader which lead to the buy in from his teammates, and his work ethic has affected those of his teammates positively.

LA Lakers Players (From Left to Right), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, JaVale McGee, Rajon Rondo, and LeBron James

The arguments for putting an asterisk on this season doesn't hold weight due to the availability of star players being available and everyone going through the exact same circumstances. As a matter of fact, being in a bubble can be mentally draining, as LeBron points out:

"Its probably the most challenging thing I've ever done, as far as a professional. Obviously I would be lying if I said up here that I knew everything inside the bubble, whatever, the toll that it would take on your mind, your body, everything else. It's been extremely tough".

Help From the Team

LA Lakers star Anthony Davis has arguably been the best teammate LeBron has ever had outside of Dwyane Wade, but despite this fact and AD's monstrous production of both ends of the court, it was LeBron who finished second in MVP voting, as everyone sees the value he brings to the table and how that translates to winning.

Training For Success

He has had no major injuries in approximately 15 years minus that groin injury last season. Its a testament to his commitment to his body which is evident when he is known to spend about $1.5 million on his health and nutrition. Prior to the groin injury last season, in 15 years LeBron has played in 94% of all of his possible games, and he has never missed a playoff game in his career.

Think about how difficult that is.

Night in and night out, playing from November until June for 8 consecutive seasons (2011-2018), 82 games in the regular seasons plus the playoff runs. Never cheating fans with his performance even in the regular season, and turning a switch on come playoff time for peak performance. It's absolutely absurd when you think about it, and its not appreciated enough.

Among the Greats

Despite all of this however, Michael Jordan's unblemished record of 6-0 in the finals, and LeBron's 6 losses in the finals is what is often mentioned in the Jordan vs LeBron debate; which has picked up steam due to LeBron's 4th championship being in sight.

LeBron James & Michael Jordan

The only player in NBA history who matches that level of longevity is Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and no one else. What separates these two however, is that LeBron James has a great chance to surpass Kareem on the all time in points list, and that is not even the best attribute LeBron has.

Now that, is greatness.