LeBron James is 36 years old, but still playing like an MVP for the Los Angeles Lakers, putting up ridiculous stat lines night in and night out and still throwing down highlight-reel dunks on the regular.
His longevity is otherworldly, with James spending millions on his body each year to maintain his form. But Paul Rivera — who has worked with James in multiple off-field ventures — thinks there is another explanation, which he revealed in a social media post on Sunday.
“Wanna let y’all in on something,” he started. “[LeBron James] is NOT 36. He’s really 26. He came into the league when he was 8 years old. I said what I said. It’s the only explanation that makes sense.”
— PR (@pr_RWTW) February 13, 2021
James reposted the take from Rivera and responded with some crying laughing emojis on Twitter.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) February 13, 2021
Frank Vogel on LeBron James: ‘You’re Watching Greatness’
James is averaging 25.6 points, 7.9 assists and 7.9 rebounds per game this season, helping lead the Lakers to a 21-6 record — just one game back of the Jazz for the best record in the NBA. The four-time MVP has shown that he can still take over games in a hurry when he chooses to. The Lakers were down by 20 early to the Grizzlies but a huge second-half run — propelled by James scoring seven points in just over 30 seconds — secured the 115-105 win.
“You’re watching greatness, you know?” Lakers Frank Vogel told reporters. “He has these stretches where the game just comes so easy to him, and whatever he wants to do, he’s able to do. It’s really remarkable. What he’s doing, whether it’s Year 18 or Year 10, it would still be remarkable.”
— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) February 13, 2021
James’ superstar teammate Anthony Davis echoed that sentiment from Vogel.
“He’s special, man,” Anthony Davis said. “He can flip a switch. I mean, he tried to get guys going early, get guys confidence, getting them some shots, getting them some touches. And when it’s time for him to turn it on, he’s able to do so.”
Anthony Davis on LeBron James: "He's special, man. … When it is time for him to turn it on, he's able to do so."
— Ryan Ward (@RyanWardLA) February 13, 2021
With a historically short offseason and more than 1,500 games under his belt, it’d make sense if James wanted to take it easy, or even take games off. But he hasn’t taken a night off this season, using his nearly two-decades of NBA instincts to dictate in-game situations and ration his energy.
“Sometimes it calls for me to turn it on a little bit more as far as my scoring and sometimes games don’t, but I just read the game,” James told reporters. “I don’t predetermine anything I’m going to do. I have a great feel of what’s going out there on the floor and just try to read and react and go from there.”
LeBron James Uncertain of Future
James signed a two-year, $85 million contract extension this offseason that will keep him in purple and gold through the 2022-23 season. He has no timetable for what happens after that, which he explained in some recent comments about his future.
“I don’t know how long I’m going to play the game. I don’t know how much more I’ll be able to give to the game. The way I feel right now, we’ll see what happens,” he said. “But I have no timetable on it. I have no year of, ‘OK, do I want to play until 30-this or 40-that?’ The game will let me know when it’s time and we’ll figure it out then.”
James has hinted at playing with his son, Bronny James, who is one of the top high-school players in the country.
“At the end of this contract, I’ll be in year 20. The best thing about it is the year I’ll be a free agent will be the same year my oldest son graduates high school,” James told reporters. “So I’ll have some options to see, for me personally, what I want to do forward, being around my family, being around my son more or continue to play this game I love with great health and great spirits. We’ll see.”
James is the MVP frontrunner in year 18, so it seems unlikely that he’s going anywhere anytime soon.