The King just posted a 38-point 6 rebound 5 assist game on Christmas 5 days before his 38th Birthday. It was his seventh straight game over 30 points. He’s not scored under 20 points since November 4th as a matter of fact. There has been some noticeable slippage in his efficiency this season, but I believe he is going to have some of the greatest games ever posted by “middle age” basketball players in the next two seasons. I’m already preparing to see games never posted at this age.
There are really only a few players his caliber that has played past 38 years old. Let’s take a look at some of the best games ever posted by players after 38 years old, so we have the baseline to track what LeBron is doing over the next two seasons. We will be using sports reference game scores to identify the best of these games and as a stand-in for efficiency/percentages and minutes. I believe it does a good job of highlighting the best games ever.
These are all of the 30+ Game Score games by players age 38 or more.
I did make one exception for Steve Nash who posted his game 6 days before his 38th birthday. All the other greats to play after 38 peaked out around a 25-game score type of games. Dirk, Vince Carter, Kidd, Grant Hill, Ginobili etc.
Jordan leads with 8 games, Malone 5, and Kareem 4.
These are the kind of games LeBron has been posting the last year of his life.
Here was LeBron’s game a few days ago before his birthday.
I think over the next 2 years LeBron will have at least 10 of these 30+ Game Score games and add that to his legacy. We’ll see.
….and that didn’t take long. Hours after posting, Lebron scores a highly efficent 47 points almost trippled double on his birthday. It’s the greatest 38+ game ever, and the only one to reach 40+ by game score. Not Jordan, not Kareem. There is really no telling what other kind of games he might have before all is said and done. Ten may have been a low estimate they way he came out of the gates.
47 points on, 18-27(.666%) FG, 4-6(.667%) three’s, 7-9(.778%) FT’s. After this game, LeBron’s efficiency and shooting is rounding more into form and are closer to what it was last year too. He’s now at 24.0 PER and .582% True Shooting.
7 More Years
“I asked him how much longer he wants to play, and he said until 45″ — Dennis Schroder reveals LeBron James told him he wants to play another 5-7 years
Wow. Back in July, we did a full article projecting what the NBA might look like both 3 and 5 years from now. Much of it was centered around LeBron approaching the age few passes. In fact, it was mentioned in the article that I thought he could still play 5 to 7 years from now.
We extensively went through all the reasons why we thought this would still be possible, for him to remain a top 30 player in PER into his 40’s including how he could play more at PF/C as he aged. He’s also indicated that he’s like to play with his son Bronny James. If that’s the case he probably also wants to try to play with his other son Bryce James too. I find the 5 to 7 years believable and his likely target goal. This assumes they are can get to the NBA because I don’t think LeBron will have any problem holding up his end if he’s healthy. A lot can change and normally does after 40 but if any player can play at this level after 40 it’s LeBron. The son’s are extra motivation, but he’s also seeing what Tom Brady is doing as well. That’s a completely different situation as the guy is just throwing a ball, but it’s a motivation when they start comparing all time sportsmen. He can also destroy most all-time records in the NBA as well. There are real motivating factors that could make 45 a target age and I hope he goes for it.