LeBron James is probably the most durable superstar of the 20th century NBA. Metta World Peace realized this as the years wore on.
James has been in the league for 18 years now. That’s basically half his life spent as one of the top-50 basketball players in the world – and that’s a conservative estimate.
James has now been dominant for so long that there’s an entire generation of NBA players now which hasn’t seen anyone else at the summit of the NBA. One could argue that James has been the world’s top player for at least a decade. He’s been a top-3 player for 15 years.
Naturally, when you ascend to that transcendental level of stardom, people start to think about your decline. Father Time has always been and will always remain undefeated. But James has driven away the travails of ageing better than practically any sportsperson we’ve ever seen.
Metta World Peace is amazed by how durable LeBron James has been
Ron Artest, a.k.a Metta World Peace and now Metta Sandiford-Artest, was recently a guest on the Called Game podcast. As expected, the 15-year NBA veteran had a completely unique perspective with regards to the game.
Metta has never played with LeBron James, but he was one of the best at guarding The King when he was young. Metta was the only perimeter player to win DPOY in the noughties, and with good reason.
Among the things he discussed was how he thought LeBron would be done in a few years. Metta genuinely thought James’s physical decline would significantly reduce his on-court impact. But he’s now changed his opinion on how LeBron’s career will wind down:
“Honestly, I thought he was done. A couple of years he was slowing down. I thought he’s going to start winding down and probably retire when he’s 40 and maybe not play as well.”
“I didn’t know he was going to be playing this well. He’s playing extremely well. He’s going to be here for three more years (at this level). You gotta idolize that.”