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For the first time in his 15-year NBA career, LeBron James has played in all 82 games this season. What makes this accomplishment even more impressive is that it happened in a season where James is averaging 37.2 minutes played per game. There’s no denying that LeBron is an insanely talented athlete who has somehow managed to get better with age.
James is still posting a strong points per game average of 27.7. He’s also getting a career-high in rebounds (8.7) and assists (9.2) this year. All of this is coming at an age (33), when many NBA players are well into the decline of their careers.
Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue admits that he tried his best to convince James to sit out the final game of the regular season, but pulled back after realizing how important it was for LeBron to play in all 82 games. "He wants to play," Lue said, per Fox Sports. "I mean, it’s hard to play 82 games. I was in the league 11 years. Never had a chance to get to 82. Everything has to go absolutely right. He wants to play and I guess in his 15th year to get to 82, it really says a lot. It says a lot about him. But once he gets his 10 points, don’t be surprised if I yank him out. He might get mad, but I don’t care. I don’t care.”
Lue was a man of his word, taking LeBron out of the game after he scored 10 points in 11 minutes. The closest he came to accomplishing this feat was in the 2008-09 season when James played in 81 games.