Lebron James, perhaps one of the oldest players in the NBA at 36, led the Los Angeles Lakers to victory with an epic last minute 3 pointer against the Golden State Warriors to take the game 103 – 100 points. In a game where he finished with 22 points, as well as 11 rebounds and 10 assists for a triple-double, he was undoubtedly the man of the match.
The NBA odds were not in their favour; very few would have predicted a Lakers victory, let alone one predicated on a 33 footer with just 58 seconds remaining on the clock. The win means the Lakers have earned the number seven seed, and will face off against the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the playoffs. The Warriors on the other hand are on the brink of elimination and set to meet the Memphis Grizzlies.
Lebron: the man, the legend
A glittering career
James started playing basketball and football in high school, and it was only in 2003, that he turned pro. Having spent his rookie season playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers, James started as he meant to go on, scoring 25 points in his debut game, and earned the NBA Rookie of the Year Award for the 2003-2004 season.
Between 2004-2008, James started to make his mark on the world of professional basketball, scoring a record breaking 56 points against the Toronto Raptors, and leading the winning team in the 2006 All-Star Game, also being named MVP for the season. He was able to lead the Cavaliers to their first playoffs since 1998.
Following a period of time as a free agent from 2010 to 2014, where he played for Miami heat, and again won numerous MVP awards, James returned to the Cavaliers. In the 2015-2016 season James led the Cavaliers to their first victory in professional basketball in 52 years, and was unanimously named MVP of the season.
In 2018, James moved to the Los Angeles Lakers, where he has continued to make an impact, with 44 points against the Portland Trailblazers and a season high 51 against his old team, Miami heat. Injury forced him out for the rest of the season, but he has come back with a vengeance for the 2019- 2020 season, leading the Lakers to victory and becoming the second oldest player to take the title, and winning his fourth championship MVP.
By 2020, James became the first ever player to score at least 10 points in 1000 consecutive games, and only the third player ever to reach 35,000 points, joining basketball legends Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone, the youngest ever to do so.
High Basketball IQ
James has been consistent throughout his career: consistently scoring, assisting and making clever plays to the benefit of his team. Every team he has played for has improved and gone on to win championships, and this has rightly been, at least in part, attributed to his influence. As well as being a 6’9’’, 250 pound powerhouse, he has a high Basketball IQ that allows him to read cues from his team and anticipate plays with a great deal of accuracy.
There is anecdotal evidence from team-mates and even opposition players that James knows what the play is: in the game against the Raptors, DeMar DeRozan remembers that one of his team forgot the play, and James promptly told him what it was, despite being on the other team. It is said that James has a photographic memory, allowing him to remember exactly where every player is on the court, as well as remembers the strengths and weaknesses of team mates and opponents.
In an interview five days after the game, James was asked about the final play of the All-Star game and was able to recap in in fine detail, blow-by-blow to the reporters. It is his basketball IQ that makes his such a dangerous player; his ability to read his opponents and strategize, as well as directing his team mates.
Career stats and achievements
Lebron James is a highly decorated player in the world of basketball, in the NBA and in the Olympic games.
- 10 points minimum in 1000 consecutive games
- 35,000 career points
- 8000 assists
- 8000 rebounds
- 4 Finals MVP Awards
- 4 MVP Awards
- 3 All Star MVP Awards
- NBA Rookie of the Year
- NBA Scoring Champion
- Double Olympic Gold medallist
- USA Male Athlete of the Year
What next for Lebron?
It is Lebron James’ longevity that is exceptional. Where most players peak in their career, James has managed to maintain consistency. He may not be the same powerhouse of speed and stamina that he was at 20, but he has gained in experience on the court and uses his intelligence to maintain his performance. In his first stint with the Cavaliers, he led dominated the game with sheer strength; in Miami, he managed to blend high volume scoring with an impressive grasp of defence; and in his later career back in Cleveland and LA he has proven himself as the biggest and smartest point guard around. There is little doubt that he can continue playing well into his 40s, blending his physical prowess with mental acuity to continue to dominate the game.
After this, who knows? The world is very much his oyster.