Lakers’ LeBron James inspired by Buccaneers’ Tom Brady, but unsure whether he’ll match QB’s longevity

Will LeBron James follow Tom Brady’s lead and play into his 40s?

The Lakers star, who turned 36 in December, told reporters Monday night that watching the 43-year-old Buccaneers quarterback win his seventh Super Bowl title was “inspiring,” but he isn’t sure whether he will reach Brady’s high standards in terms of career longevity.

“How do I wrap my head around it? [Brady is] one of the GOATs,” James said after the Lakers’ 119-112 overtime win against the Thunder. “I’ve been watching him my whole life, seemed like my whole life. I’ve been watching him for 20 years now or how long he’s been in the NFL. I watched him when he was with Michigan playing against the Ohio State Buckeyes. I’ve been watching him for quite a while now.

“Just to see him go out and do the things that he’s done in his career, for him to win another one [Sunday] in the fashion that he won, it was pretty cool. It’s very inspiring for a guy like myself.”

“But two different sports, two different positions,” James continued. “I don’t know how long I’m going to play the game. I don’t know how much more I’ll be able to give to the game. But the way I feel right now, we’ll see what happens. I have no timetable on it. I have no year of, ‘Do I want to play until 30-this or 40-that?’ The game will let me know when it’s time. We’ll figure it out then.”

The 2020-21 season marks Year 18 of James’ career, and he continues to defy the typical aging curve for even the greatest NBA players. He is averaging 25.6 points, 8.0 assists and 8.0 rebounds while shooting 49.7 percent from the field and 39.8 percent from 3-point range. He is firmly in the MVP conversation, and the Lakers are considered the favorites to win the 2021 championship.

James is under contract with Los Angeles through the 2022-23 season, which would push him to 38 years old. If he stays in the league long enough, James could potentially position himself to be able to play alongside or against his son, Bronny, a sophomore at Sierra Canyon High School in California and one of the top-ranked prospects in the class of 2023.

“The best thing about it is the year I’ll be a free agent will be the same year my oldest son [Bronny] graduates high school,” James said in December. “So I’ll have some options to see, for me, personally, what I want to do forward, being around my family, being around my son more or continue to play this game I love with great health and great spirits. We’ll see.”

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