LeBron James is enjoying yet another ridiculous season in 2020-21, operating as the centerpiece of the NBA’s best team at the age of 36. By any objective measure, James should be slowing down at this point but, with no signs of slippage despite an incredible amount of mileage, the Los Angeles Lakers forward remains the No. 1 star in the NBA world. While James’s level of play is worthy of extensive discussion on its own, Tom Brady leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a Super Bowl win reignited the “GOAT” debate across the sporting landscape and, on cue, James is in the middle of it.
While the question of which player has been better and/or more dominant in their own field is interesting in a different way, Brady’s ability to play into his 40’s prompted questions about James and when he will hang it up. James said Monday that Brady’s win was “inspiring for a guy like myself” and, after he turned in a triple-double in a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, he was asked about the future.
“Two different sports, two different positions. 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, but the way I feel right now, we’ll see what happens,” James said, via Silver Screen & Roll. “I have no timetable on it. I have no year of, ‘OK, do I want to play until 30 this, or 40 that?’”
Of course, it isn’t terribly surprising to hear James deflect on a specific timetable, but he went on to say “the game will let me know when it’s time, and we’ll figure it out then.” In short, that makes sense in that it is pretty difficult to imagine James continuing to hang on in a reduced form and, despite his age, it is also weird to think about James actually declining, even if it has to happen at some point.
The Lakers are rolling and James is signed long-term, meaning there isn’t much drama with regard to where he’ll play next as there has been at various points in his career. There is still time for a final act, though, and it would be wise not to assume the end is too near given these comments and his obscene level of play at the age of 36.