The greatest basketball players in history have always been characterized by things that make them special. A supernatural talent, an unbreakable mentality, an obsession with training, or simply an ability to shine like no one else. Something makes them special.
In the case of LeBron James, it's not just his talent that helps him be one of the best in basketball history, as it is his work ethic that allows him to perform at the highest level possible, even at the age of 36.
Taking care of his diet and working out in the gym are two factors that LeBron has always depended on and, regarding the latter, his former Cleveland Cavaliers and USA Basketball teammate, Deron Williams, gave some details in a talk to SHOWTIME Basketball (53:17 timestamp), via Essentially Sports.
“It was great. I mean, I had played with LeBron in 2 Olympics, so of course, I knew him and what he brought to the table. It was great. When I talk about work ethics, besides Kobe being around him in the Olympics, LeBron has the best work ethic that I’ve been around. His basketball mind is unbelievable. I consider myself a pretty smart human when it comes to the game of basketball, but his mind works differently.”
USA Basketball won the gold medal in the two Olympic Games to which Williams refers (2008 and 2012) and LeBron was one of the team's leaders on and off the court.
In Beijing 2008, the current Los Angeles Lakers player averaged 15.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 3.8 assists in the famous Redeem Team, which is considered by many the only team that could have faced the Dream Team of Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and company.
In London 2012 he repeated his performance and only dropped in points, going from 15.5 in 2008 to 13.2 in the tournament held in Europe. On the other hand, he increased his assists average to 5.6 and managed to generate for his teammates constantly, in a role more dedicated to leadership.
Deron went along with him and settled into the role to perfection, learning from one of the most dominant players in basketball history, who to this day remains in the ring as one of the best in the game and a key part of the Lakers' quest for a ring on the eve of the start of the 2021/22 NBA season.
Many times Kobe's work ethic is highlighted, or Michael Jordan's mentality, but it's always good to remember the players of the present and what makes them special.
In LeBron's case, the set of factors that allow him to be one of the best of all time is diverse and solid enough to keep him competitive against all kinds of younger talent.