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LeBron James is on the verge of playing in all 82 games for the first time in his career. Is this a big thing, a little thing, or much ado about nothing?
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David Aldridge: MAAN. If it means something to him, fine. It means nothing to anyone else. All that matters is what he and the Cavs do starting this weekend. An eighth straight Finals appearance would be Bill Russel-esque. Who else could you compare that with?
Steve Aschburner: Little thing. In this day and age, with the researchers telling us that the very best NBA performances would come from guys who averaged about one game a month and 29 days of rest, there is something notable, maybe even laudable against the low expectations, about those like James and a handful of others who show up for work — and for the ticket buyers — every night. But suggesting this should be a factor in Kia MVP voting? Or just swooning in general over his want-to or durability? Please. Michael Jordan played 82 games nine times. So did Karl Malone. A bunch of Hall of Famers routinely punched the clock every night despite facing back-to-back-to-back schedules and a lack of charter flights or cryotherapy chambers. It’s not basketball history’s fault James waited until he was 33 to do it even once.
Shaun Powell: In today’s NBA? This is a very, very big thing. LeBron is doing this with 14 years of wear (including eight Finals runs) on his body and yet volunteers to give everyone their money’s worth by not taking games off, possessions off or even plays off. We as basketball fans should extend a thank-you to LeBron, and while I realize folks don’t deserve a pat on the back for doing what they’re supposed to do (and also, playing 82 was par for the course for Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, et al), LeBron is the counter argument to the notion that NBA stars deserve their rest, to preserve them and protect them. Well: Who’s more valuable to the NBA than LeBron?
John Schuhmann: A little thing. It’s cool for him and we shouldn’t take for granted what this guy is doing at the age of 33, having played 9,000 more minutes than any other player since he was drafted. But 82 instead of 78 doesn’t have much of an effect on his legacy, on the Cavs’ season, or on the league as a whole. What matters is whether or not he flips the switch on defense when the Cavs need him to be more engaged on that end of the floor.
As LeBron James gets set to play an 82nd regular season game for the first time in his career, a reminder that he has played over 9,000 more minutes than any other player since he came into the league. pic.twitter.com/WpesWlv6HV
— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) April 11, 2018
Sekou Smith: Symbolically, it’s a huge deal to see LeBron check off yet another item on his “Nobody Does It Better” list. For this guy, at 33 — after 14 seasons and 146 playoff games in the past seven postseasons — to pull this off is staggering. Sure, he’s showing off. He’s trolling all of the other guys who have been sucker punched by Father Time late in their careers. And he’s certainly taken his fair share of breathers during games this season, especially on the defensive end. But to grind like this so late in his storied career, the feat should not be dismissed as yet another trivial pursuit carried out by a man who has made every detail of his career a potential milestone. This is a feat of endurance and strength that is worthy of whatever praise you are willing to lavish upon this guy.