LeBron James is entering his milestone 20th NBA season but even at this stage of his career, he’s just as locked in as ever. At the start of a season when he has the opportunity to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the All-Time leading scorer and to pass Magic Johnson on the all-time assists leaderboard, James is still showing his dedication to the process.
After Friday’s practice, when asked how much he wanted to play in this year’s preseason competition, James replied, “More than I played last year,” per NBA.com.
The Los Angeles Lakers lost all six of their preseason games last year, while LeBron only played in 3 of them for a combined 73 minutes. A rough start in the preseason gave way to a difficult and injury-riddled 2021-2022 campaign for the Lakers. After only playing in 56 games last season and dealing with nagging injuries throughout, James made some adjustments to his off-season training regimen and his diet—even picking up pickle ball.
“Being Black and understanding how heart rate and blood-pressure things run in my family, living a healthy lifestyle is very important,” James said, per NBA.com. “It’s not only to myself. But it’s about showing that to the kids and people all around. If that can translate to the game, cool. But it’s more about life.”
LeBron James expects to play more preseason games this season than he did last season (2).— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) September 30, 2022
New Lakers head coach Darvin Ham says the team will decide “in the next few days” whether LBJ plays in more than three exhibitions. “We don’t want to go crazy,” Ham said. “But we also want it to be enough where we can establish a rhythm, so he can be in game mode with a good rhythm going into the regular season.”
It will be important for the new-look Lakers roster to hit the ground running when the season starts and James is hoping to be in his best state to go running with them. “It doesn’t matter how long you’ve played this game. The day you think you can stop learning is the day you start going backwards,” James said. “I’m always trying to figure out ways I can get better and learn from a new coach, new teammates and life in general. Every day is a learning experience for me. I love it.”
The Los Angeles Lakers play the Sacramento Kings on Monday night.
Photo via Getty Images.