After such a long time away from the court, many observers feel that LeBron James will not be able to continue his superb form when the NBA resumes. Have we witnessed the last meaningful spin around the floor for the Laker’s current face of the franchise? And will he soon waltz off toward diminished levels of play and ultimately retirement, without adding further to his basketball legacy?
Since the NBA suspended its season on March 11, basketball fans around the world have craved the return of competitive hoops, when all is safe and appropriate to do so, of course. During the break, many were fascinated by Michael Jordan‘s documentary ‘The Last Dance’ detailing MJ’s final season of title-winning relevance.
With the NBA season now set to resume safely at Disney World in Orlando on the July 31, some observers believe that the break-in-play has harmed the Western Conference-topping Los Angeles Lakers’ chance for a historic 17th NBA title.
These commentators maintain that view because of the toll a break in sporting hostilities will have put upon the MVP-level momentum built up by LeBron James before lockdown. Furthermore, some critics say that should the Lakers fail this time around, then James will have had his own ‘Last Dance’. With a return to title-winning relevance next year seemingly beyond even his considerable powers, when he will turn 36 years old. His current purple and gold supporting cast are set to break up too. If many supposedly in-the-know types are to be believed, further damaging King James’ chances at another crown.
From international broadcasters, such as ESPN, to local, feet-on-the-ground journalists at the Los Angeles Times, James’ huge influence on this current Laker title charge has been well recognized. But the same sources have also noted that with the advancement of time, so have his chances of a Laker championship decreased.
The main argument seems to be that despite posting MVP-level stats as the only 35-year-old in NBA history to average 25 points and 10 assists per game, the chances of him recapturing that form after such a long break in competitive action are very much against a man his age. Indeed, King James himself remarked that the layoff is “not good” for his 35-year-old body.
Should the chance be lost this time, all eyes would look to 2021. But with another year on the clock, a repeat of his historic form this time around could seem unlikely, especially given the good run of injury-free luck he has enjoyed this season.
Could that luck continue into his 36th year? Which will also be his 18th season in the league. His supporters would counter by saying yes, James has racked up over 1,000 regular-season games and 239 playoff games, the latter good for the 4th-best all-time. But crucially he is also the record holder for all-time points scored in the play-offs, having been to 8 straight NBA Finals and notched over 40 minutes per night on the hardwood in those series’. This shows that he steps up when it counts and has the endurance to do so. The lockdown workout videos he has posted on social media further attest to the state of his still-elite conditioning and hyper-competitive desire to win.
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