It’s Year 19 for LeBron James — who has spent more than half of his life in the NBA and turns 37 years old this week — yet the Los Angeles Lakers star continues to play MVP-caliber basketball.
On Tuesday, LeBron helped the Lakers snap their five-game losing skid, dropping 32 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists (his 101st career triple-double) in a 132-123 win over the Houston Rockets. LeBron became the third player in NBA history to eclipse 36,000 career points, and the first player over the age of 35 to score 35 or more points in five straight games.
He’s now tied with Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant for the most 30+ point games in the league this season, despite the fact that he’s missed 12 games. His points per game average (27.8) would be his highest mark since he played for the Miami Heat.
In other words: LeBron James is still extremely good at basketball.
After Los Angeles’ much-needed win vs. Houston, LeBron was asked when he might hang up the Nikes and retire
“I know I’m on the other side of the hill, compared to the hill I was on before. I know that. But, I mean, I’ve thought about it — where I’m at with it. I’m still playing at such a high level, I haven’t given it too much thought. But I’m in Year 19 and I’m not gonna do another 19. So I’m definitely not halfway in my career. I’m on the other side of the hill. So, we’ll see where the game takes me. We’ll see where my body takes me and my mind. As long as my mind stays fresh and my body stays with that, I can play the game. But, in the end, the game will tell you. Your body will tell you. Your mind will tell you. I’ve put in enough hours and punched enough clocks where, when that time comes, I’ll be OK with it.”
LeBron’s contract runs through 2022-23, when he’ll be 39. He’s expressed a hope to play with his son, Bronny, who will be eligible to enter the NBA Draft around the same time his dad’s contract expires. Last summer, he steadfastly stated his intention on retiring as a member of the Lakers.
For now, LeBron is living in the present, where his task remains to lead a debilitated Lakers team back into contention. His recent play indicates that he’s still capable of making that happen.