LeBron James is one of the greatest NBA players of all time, but his 15-year career lacks something that may seem relatively simple: Play every regular-season game.
Heading into Wednesday’s finale against the New York Knicks, James has made 81 appearances this season. And after Monday’s victory over New York, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, LeBron confirmed he plans to play.
“I’m healthy. So, I’m playing.”
One underappreciated part of James’ career is his consistent availability. In every campaign, he’s played no fewer than 84.1 of his team’s regular-season games while avoiding serious injury.
But only twice had LeBron previously notched at least 80 appearances.
It makes sense, though. Since his teams have typically cruised to a top seed, scheduled rest was a regular thing for LeBron. And after they’d clinched a playoff spot, he’d take a couple games off to prepare for a grueling playoff road.
This season, however, Cleveland’s struggles, injury issues and roster turnover have kept James on the floor. Without him playing a league-high 37.2 minutes per night, the Cavs wouldn’t be vying for the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Of all LeBron’s accomplishments, this one won’t rank particularly high. But given the context of 2017-18, it’s certainly been important.