Jan 12, 2022 - Sports

LeBron James: The ageless wonder

Data: Basketball Reference; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

After two decades of non-stop media attention, you'd be forgiven for developing LeBron James fatigue and taking "The King" for granted. But I'm begging you: Please don't.

By the numbers: Currently in his 19th NBA season, James is putting up almost identical numbers at age 37 as he was at age 27. It's utterly insane.

  • Age 27 (2011-12): 27.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 53.1% FG, 36.2% 3PT, 77.1% FT, 37.5 minutes
  • Age 37 (2021-22): 28.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 6.6 assists, 52.8% FG, 37.2% 3PT, 78.5% FT, 36.8 minutes

The big picture: James' longevity is perhaps best illustrated by his annual player efficiency rating (PER), a popular all-in-one statistic that measures per-minute productivity.

  • Outside of his rookie year, James' PER has been between 24.2 and 31.7 every season. He may have peaked at age 24 (31.7 PER), but his decline has been virtually non-existent.
  • James' career PER average is 27.4, which is the second-best mark ever behind Michael Jordan (27.9). His PER this season as one of the NBA's oldest players? 27.5.

Wild stat: James has had four seasons with at least 27.0 PER since turning 30. Only six players in NBA history have had more in their entire careers.

Coming up: James enters tonight's game against the Kings (10pm ET) having scored 25+ points in 11 straight games.

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