Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James has a lengthy list of outstanding accomplishments throughout his NBA career, but one observer said he believes what the superstar did on a Wednesday night in the fifth game of the 2023-24 NBA season might be his best.
Chris Broussard of FOX Sports’ “First Things First” program said James’ performance in helping the Lakers rally for a 130-125 overtime victory against the Los Angeles Clippers inspired more awe than him helping the Cleveland Cavaliers come back from 3-1 down to defeat the Golden State Warriors and win the 2016 NBA championship, among other memorable games.
“I was at the game where he scored 29 in the last 30 points in the Eastern Conference Finals Game 5 against Detroit,” said Broussard. “I was at every game of the 3-1 comeback against Golden State in those Finals in 2016.
“My point is this, all of that and in many other great games, I’ve never been more awed by LeBron than what I saw last night. Hear me out. I’m not saying that that is one of his best games. It’s not. I mean, obviously he’s had plenty in more meaningful games.
“But when you look at the fact that he is 38 years old, he is in his 21st season, and other stars — Kawhi Leonard was playing great, Paul George was playing great, Russell Westbrook was playing great, Anthony Davis was playing great — and LeBron James was the best player on the floor.
“I was awed by it.”
James performing at such a high level at this point in his NBA career certainly is impressive, especially considering that the Lakers entered this season planning to manage his workload more than they ever had.
But circumstances such as tight games and injured teammates have forced head coach Darvin Ham to so far rely on his superstar perhaps even more than the Lakers have in recent seasons, including during their unexpected run to the 2023 Western Conference Finals.
For his part, James didn’t appear to be fully on board with the plan to limit his minutes, with video surfacing of him confronting the coaching staff about his role in the season opener. After Ham said the intention was to keep him in the 29-minute range each game, James played more than 42 minutes on Wednesday and is averaging more than 35 minutes per game in five contests this season.
He helped the Lakers overcome a 19-point deficit against the Clippers and then helped them overcome blowing a late eight-point lead to win for the third time this season.
James will turn 39 years old in late December, and the Lakers certainly want to keep him healthy and fresh with hopes for another long playoff run that this time will end with a championship.
However, with the icon showing he is still among the best players in the NBA, it might be difficult to keep that kind of ability on the bench when it could eventually lead to a better regular season record and an improved playoff seeding as the season moves along.