Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press
It may not seem like it most nights, but LeBron James is 35 years old. From an athletic standpoint, his game has declined—even if he would put most 21-year-olds to shame at his age.
That said, LeBron says the mental side of his game makes him a better player than he was when he won his first championship.
“Thirty-five-year-old LeBron would tell 27-year-old that you don’t even know your game. You haven’t even scratched the surface. You have no idea what you’re capable of,” James told Scott Van Pelt on SportsCenter. “So I think if you line 35-year-old LeBron up with 27-year-old LeBron, he’d dominate him. Just from a mental side. He’d dominate himself from eight years ago…you got no chance. All that super athleticism, you ain’t got no chance.”
To put this into context, 27-year-old LeBron was one of the most singularly dominant players the game has ever seen. This was the LeBron who spent all summer resculpting his body to linebacker status, ditched the three and bully-balled the Miami Heat to a championship.
The pinnacle of James’ two-way dominance came a year later—when he added a 40-percent three ball to all that physical dominance—but 35-year-old Point Bron vs. 27-year-old Bully Bron would be an incredible matchup.
In terms of a team game, LeBron’s mind with eight years of experience probably wins out. In terms of a one-on-one matchup, 28-year-old LeBron might be the only player in NBA history who’d be able to take out the 27-year-old version.