It was a long reign at the top for LeBron James but not many still consider the Los Angeles Lakers star to be the best player in the NBA anymore. He had a dominant decade of basketball but he’s 37 now and played less than 60 games in each of the last two seasons. When he’s on the court, he’s still incredible but it’s getting harder for that to happen.
Though the Milwaukee Bucks didn’t defend their title last season, many believe that Giannis Antetokounmpo is now the best player in the NBA. He’s got a strong claim. He’s won two of the last four MVP awards and been named to six-straight All-Star teams. Plus, he’s just a year removed from a historical NBA Finals performance that saw him win NBA Finals MVP.
Despite all of the accolades, Giannis isn’t ready to start calling himself the best player in the world. He still gives that title to LeBron and admires the superstar’s ability to play at a high level in Year 18.
“It’s interesting to me how LeBron is still one of the best shapes in his life and being the best player in the world and still being in Year 18,” Giannis told Marca Basket. “Like, that’s really interesting. I want to know how he does that. He’s been consistent for 18 years. He’s always there. He’s always showing up. That’s unbelievable.
“He obviously gets credit, but I think we’ve got to give him more credit. Doing it for 18 years guys, that’s hard. And hopefully, hopefully I can be there. Hopefully, I can do this for 18 years, 20 years. That’s the goal.”
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Giannis Talks LeBron Spending Big Money on Body
A big reason LeBron has been so good for so long is due to the work that he puts in. It’s well-documented that he spends over $1 million a year on just his body. His body has broken down a bit in recent years but he’s still in better shape than most players his age. Giannis wants to have a similar career length as LeBron but he doesn’t like the idea of spending so much money.
“You gotta spend $1.5 million on your body? I don’t know if I can do that,” Giannis said. “I’m too cheap for that. No, I’m joking. It’s crazy to me, man. He’s been so consistent. It’s fun to watch. It’s definitely fun to watch.”
Can LeBron Reclaim Best Player Title?
The Lakers have been disappointing in back-to-back years but that hasn’t been on LeBron. Last season, he averaged 30.3 points a game and could’ve won the NBA’s scoring title if he played in a couple of more games. He proved last season that he’s at least in the conversation for best NBA player when he’s healthy.
However, his defense isn’t at the level it was in years past. He can still be a force on offense but he’s just too old to be the All-NBA defender that he’s been in the past. LeBron’s reign as the best player in the NBA is likely over but that doesn’t mean he can’t still be in the top-five conversation.