LeBron James is near the peak of his powers and is still only 30 years old.
LeBron James also has now played more minutes — regular season, playoffs, and international combined — than Magic Johnson, Allen Iverson, Steve Nash, Larry Bird, or Isiah Thomas did in their careers. LeBron is ninth on the all-time minutes played list already and should pass Charles Barkley and Patrick Ewing this coming season. All of those guys started to battle injuries late in their career, it should be noted.
The folks over at Hoopshype put this in a handy graphic form to make their point.
That is not the all-time list. The All-Time minutes list starts with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (66,297) and then goes to Karl Malone, Jason Kidd, Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, Ewing, Barkley, and then LeBron.
What do all those minutes mean? Not much yet. Mostly because LeBron is built like a super-human cyborg and as such has rarely seen injuries or other human frailties in his career. In the playoffs last season he gave us a reminder that he is still the best player alive. I still fully expect him to lead the Cavaliers to a couple titles the next handful of years.
LeBron has seen a dip in efficiency the past couple seasons, although that likely has more to do with the fact he had to carry more offensive load. Probably.
The minutes is just something to keep in the back of your mind as we head into a new season. At some point those miles will catch up with him.