Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has never had any problem keeping his body in game-shape. And in Year 17 of his career, many considered the unprecedented stoppage in the season to be a good thing, allowing the four-time NBA MVP some time to rest and gear up for a title run. After all, James has played nearly 1,500 games in his career — 1,258 in the regular season and 239 in the playoffs.
But according to James, the rest is not beneficial for him, which he discussed on the Road Trippin’ Podcast hosted by former Cleveland Cavaliers teammates Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye.
“When you’ve been building six months of conditioning and preparation and then (it’s gone), the narrative that I don’t like (is), ‘Well, now guys get so much rest.’ Or, like, ‘LeBron, he’s 35, he’s got so many minutes on his body, now he gets so much rest,'” James said on the podcast (h/t ESPN). “It’s actually the opposite for me because my body, when we stopped playing, was asking me, like, ‘What the hell are you doing?’
“My body was like, ‘Hey man, what the hell is going on? It’s March 13, you’re getting ready for the playoffs, why are you shutting down right now?’ And I was right there turning the corner, like, I felt like I was rounding third base, getting ready for the postseason.
“So, the rest factor, I think it’s a little bit overly blown. Especially when you’re in the full swing of things.”
LeBron: NBA Can’t go Directly to Playoffs
When it comes to resuming the season, James isn’t a fan of going straight back into things.
“One thing you can’t just do is go straight to the playoffs,” James said. “Because it discredits the 60-plus games that guys had fighting for that position.”
James seemed unsure of a return to the court for a championship chase until fans can enjoy the game and be in the building.
“To get back on the floor, I would love it. I’m not going to sit here and say nothing. Like if it’s get out there and get back on the floor 5-on-5 … but like, we can do that in scrimmages,” James said. “Let’s just go to each other’s practice facility, put out a camera, just scrimmage and live stream it. But until the fans can come back … I just don’t know how we can imagine a sporting event without fans. It’s just, it’s a weird dynamic.”
Lakers Staying in Touch Everyday During Hiatus
The stoppage of the NBA season was especially painful for the Lakers, who lead the Western Conference with a 49-14 record and are a top title contender. What helped propel the Lakers to the top of standings was their team chemistry, which they are still trying to maintain during their time away.
“We got a text chain between all the guys on the team. And we just stay in touch every day, pretty much,” James said. “Random [expletive]. It could be something that’s on the internet, guys send a clip. … To Laker Nation: the guys are staying connected. Everybody knows where everyone is. We know what’s going on.”