LeBron James has shown no sign of slowing down in his 17th NBA season, and the four-time MVP has no plans to be taking any nights off as he looks to steer the Los Angeles Lakers back to the playoffs and to their first title in a decade.
The latest dose of greatness from James came against the Atlanta Hawks, helping steers the Lakers to a 101-96 victory that was chock full of highlight reel plays. With the win, the Lakers improved on their league-best 24-3 record.
James is playing at a very high level, but the game is in a stage where the league’s biggest stars are taking designed days off for “load management.” With so many games under his belt, it wouldn’t be absurd to think James was planning the same. However, that’s not the case.
“Y’all want me to sit out?” James told The Athletic. “I don’t know how many games I got left in my career. I don’t know how many kids that may show up to a game and they’re there to come see me play and if I sit out, then what?
“That’s my obligation. My obligation is to play, play for my teammates and if I’m healthy, then I’m going to play.”
Lakers Head Coach Frank Vogel: Team Will Respect LeBron’s Wishes
James played in just 55 games last year as the Lakers missed the playoffs, breaking The King’s 13-year streak of making the playoffs. But with that time off came a recharged LeBron, who has been tearing it up alongside his All-Pro teammate Anthony Davis.
The Lakers and head coach Frank Vogel plan to obey any plan James has for his number of games play this season.
“He knows that we’re open-minded and even encouraging him to look for smart opportunities to recharge the batteries,” Vogel said. “But we’re respecting what he wants to do and he wants to be in there. So, like I said, we’re going to respect that.”
LeBron on Playing With Son Bronny: We Don’t Talk About That
Many have speculated that LeBron is waiting it out to play with his son Bronny, who helped lead Sierra Canyon to a 59-56 victory over his dad’s former high school, St Vincent-St Mary over the weekend.
After the Lakers beat the Hawks, James spoke on the possibility of playing with his son.
“The way my body feels right now post-game, no, absolutely not. Through the grace of God and the grace of health, we will see what happens,” LeBron told reporters. “At the end of the day, it’s not promised my son can make it to this level. We don’t even discuss that.
“We live every day by every day and [think about] how he can continue to be a great team-mate, be a positive role model to his little brother and little sister and, when he leaves the house, continue to hold the James last name with the utmost respect.
“Because it’s not just about him – and when I leave the house, it’s not just about me – it’s about our family and what we’ve created.
“Being in the NBA is extra credit as far as life [goes]. If you’re able to make it, you don’t ever take it for granted. This is all cool and well and dandy, but there’s so much more to life especially when you’re raising a family.”