I think it may be very possible. With his Karl Malone-esque durability I can see Lebron easily playing until his late 30s or even possibly early 40s. He has expanded his game quite a bit so when he loses his athleticism, I feel he can still be effective. He has gained more and more muscle mass over the years so he can easily dominate at the 4 as he has last season so he can rely more on strength rather than speed and agility.
It's crazy that Lebron may not even be done with half of his career yet. What do you guys think?
Well he is on pace to breaking the NBA record for most career points by age 35; I think he has 8 years of dominance left in him and about 5-7 years of being very productive. 7 years from now he may have it and the career points record but Kevin Durant scares me he is scoring points at a rapid pace.
I just want to chime in with something real quick. It annoys me when people like Bill Simmons keep harping on the fact that Kobe and Lebron (soon to be KD) have "extra" seasons to get to their totals. I really hate that term "extra" because one of the definitions is "more than what is needed". Its a synonym of "bonus".
To me that just implies that they had something easy. there is nothing easy about 18-19 year olds coming into the league and playing at a high level right away. It happened, but when people harp on it, it seems to cheapen their accomplishments...and if anything, I think its more of a testament to how great they are as players.
just my $0.02
I don't think LeBron will continue to play if he is just a "valuable" player. I just feel like if he isn't as dominant as he has always been, he won't want to to continue as some kind of role player. And i believe that wouldn't even happen until he is like 37-38. I mean, look at Kobe at age 34 and he still has at least 1-2 elite years left (imo) and LeBron is even more of a physical specimen. He will obviously re write the rcord books as already has created a lot of erasing. One factor I will be interested in seeing is if they cut down the amount of regular season games. That will definitely shake some things up.
as with any athletic specimen, how rapid their decline is depends on how quickly or evenly they are able to mesh their IQ with their athleticism.
as the athleticism goes down the IQ should go up. I always say the average athletic peak is around 33 after that it goes down slowly and the great ones usually find the craftiness to still perform at a high level despite passing their athletic primes.
its crazy but Kobe is past his athletic prime now and still performing at a ridiculous level. thats because his IQ is so great. As an all around player, athletic and IQ, at 34 he could be at his peak because he is more in tune with his body and what he can and cant do anymore so he overcompensates in one area to make up for shortcomings in another.
The more Lebron improves his all around game, the slower his decline as a player will be to the naked eye. If I had to guess, he will play until he is around 38 before hanging them up.
35k-8k-8k sounds more reasonable but with Kobe putting up numbers he put up 10 years ago, it's possible LeBron does the same, especially with him shifting his game from athleticism to IQ as he's been doing the last couple of seasons.