For the first time since joining the Miami Heat, LeBron James could very well be on the floor with his team when they come to play their 82nd and final game of the regular season. There’s no doubt that the fact that the Heat are playing for the one-seed in the East in the 2014 NBA Playoffs is a big factor in that decision, but it also entails more than just that.
In years past, James has sat out to get rest after the rigors of a full season in the NBA and to heal up from some minor nicks and ailments. James has said that he’s dealing with some of the same type of minor injuries, but that they aren’t going to keep him out when he feels there are still things that he and this team can accomplish.
While the fact that LeBron is going to play out the remainder of an 82-game regular season isn’t incredibly impressive and is, in fact, relatively mundane. However, what is being overlooked here is the toughness and longevity that James is showing by deciding to do this.
Looking through a microscope at this season alone, him playing out the end of the season is pretty meaningless. However, when you broaden the scope and look at the past three seasons leading up to the 2013-14 campaign. Over the three seasons prior to this one in Miami, LeBron has played in a ridiculous 284 games. While he’s avoided major injuries and is a supreme physical specimen, that’s still going to take a toll on his body after a while.
Considering they’re looking to lock-up the one-seed, LeBron should undoubtedly be on the floor until everything is settled. However, we should appreciate the fortitude that James is displaying in doing so. The man gets a lot of flak—some deserved, some not—but it’s stilly to question his toughness and durability.