38-year-old LeBron James says he feels better now than he did at 18

Brad Sullivan
3 Min Read

After an amazing 47-point performance on his 38th birthday, Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James indicated that he feels better now than he did when he began his NBA career roughly two decades ago.

James spoke after the Lakers’ win on Friday night about how energized he remains in his 20th NBA season.

“I feel better than [he felt at] 18,” James said. “I didn’t know what I could become at 18. But I just knew if I continued to put in the work, I continued to be true to the game, then I could be one of the greatest players to ever play this game. I just always believed that. …

“There are times when I’m on the floor where I do feel like a kid again. That’s for sure.”

In the victory over the Atlanta Hawks, James managed a double-double by also grabbing 10 rebounds on the night. He narrowly missed a triple-double as he finished with nine assists.

James’ scoring production came on 18-of-27 shooting from the field, including 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc. He added seven points at the charity stripe.

Prior to the scoring outburst, James’ highest point total in a single game this season came in a Nov. 26 road win over the San Antonio Spurs, when he scored 39 points.

Despite having played nearly 1,400 regular season games since starting his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003, James is still delivering in all facets of the game. This season, he’s averaging 28.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and 6.6 assists per contest.

On Friday, James came within one point of tying the best scoring mark of his career in games played on his birthday. In 2009, he turned 25 and celebrated with a 48-point effort.

Friday’s scoring explosion for the veteran came in the midst of what’s been another disappointing campaign for the Lakers, who improved to 15-21 on the season with their win.

James has understandably been frustrated with the way things have gone for Los Angeles this season.

The burden on James has grown in the wake of Anthony Davis’ latest injury. The big man has missed eight straight games.

Already fighting just to stay in contention for a berth in the league’s play-in tournament, the Lakers can’t afford to lose any more ground. That means that big efforts from James (like his performance Friday night) will be needed on a frequent basis, which is a stiff challenge for any player.

However, James once again appears to be tapping into the fountain of youth and will continue to forge ahead, regardless of how the Lakers are performing.

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Brad is a freelance writer for LakersDaily.com, who can clearly recall watching Lakers games in 1972 as they captured the first of their 11 Los Angeles-based titles. The franchise's evolution into a beloved and iconic franchise among its fan base since that memorable year allows for a wider perspective to be a part of his writing about the team's current fortunes.