A groin injury and other factors limited LeBron James to just 55 games in his debut 2018-19 NBA season with the Los Angeles Lakers, marking the fewest he had played in a single season since entering the league in 2003.
Some believed James’ age was beginning to catch up to him and that the 15-time NBA All-Star’s best days were behind him. That’s despite an overall productive Year 1 in which he matched or surpassed his career averages across the board.
How James would bounce back from his significant injury was one of the top storylines entering the 2019-20 season. Nearly one month into the campaign, it is clear that the soon-to-be 35-year-old still has plenty left in the tank.
James has jumped out to an excellent start as the team’s primary ball-handler with Rajon Rondo sidelined to begin the season. He is currently leading the NBA with 10.5 assists per game through eight contests and looks rejuvenated in his 17th season.
Fueling his all-around success is a motivation to prove his doubters wrong.
“It’s my personal motivation. I’m extra motivated to put myself in a position where I know I belong,” James said. “It’s my personal motivation every single night I step on the floor to be great.”
James’ 25-point showing against the Miami Heat helped lead the Lakers to their seventh consecutive win. He additionally set a milestone, becoming just the third player in NBA history to reach 1,000 20-point games.
In attendance at Staples Center to see James’ performance was best friend and former Heat teammate Dwyane Wade, who recently took exception to those that believe James has taken a step back on the court.
The Lakers improved to 7-1 with the victory and have excelled behind James’ overall play on both sides of the ball.
In addition to his career-high 10.5 assists per game, James is averaging 26 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 1.4 steals in 35.1 minutes.