Lakers’ LeBron James says layoff is not good for his 35-year-old body

LeBron James says players will need a week or two of training before resuming games once the NBA is cleared to continue its season.
(Katelyn Mulcahy / Getty Images)

LeBron James doesn’t want to hear any more about how a break in the schedule because of the coronavirus pandemic might be good for his 35-year-old body.

“It’s actually the opposite for me,” James said. “My body when we stopped playing was like ‘what the hell are you doing?’ ”

James made the comments during a nearly hour-long podcast “Road Trippin’” released on Uninterrupted, his digital platform. He was a guest on the podcast that regularly features his former teammates Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye, along with Spectrum SportsNet studio host Allie Clifton.


Among the topics James discussed were his day-to-day life, what a quarantine would have been like for him growing up, how the Lakers are keeping in touch with each other and what timeline he’s been given for when things will change.

“The only timeline that we’ve been given as far as training is that I will be allowed to work out with Mike Mancias again on Monday, which will be the two weeks away from the quarantine they put us on after we all got tested after the Nets had four guys who tested positive,” James said. “… I’ve just been training. I’ve been training five days a week and staying ready. What they always say. Stay ready when your number’s called.”

James has been more visible in his second week of quarantine. He held a Q&A on Instagram last week. His foundations’ I Promise School, which is closed along with the rest of the schools in Ohio, sent tacos to 343 of their families on Tuesday.

Then on Wednesday night, while sitting inside his wine cellar, James caught up with his old friends.

Upon hearing that he was recording from his wine cellar, Jefferson and Frye both quipped, “Me too,” while laughing.

They discussed possible ways the NBA could restart and prepare for the playoffs. James suggested a one- to two-week training camp followed by five to 10 games to finish the regular season. James said less training might work if the only goal was to finish the regular season, but players’ bodies would need time to adjust before the playoffs.

“My body was like, ‘Hey, man, what the hell is going on? It’s March 13. You’re getting ready for the playoffs. Why are you shutting down?’” James said. “I was right there turning the corner. I feel like I was on third base.”

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He contrasted this break with the lockout in 2011, which delayed the start of the season rather than suspended in the middle.

James said players could still get together to play basketball during the lockout — something they can’t do now. Gyms were open, whereas the coronavirus pandemic has closed most public and private gyms. James discussed his hope that players were doing what they could to work out at home, either with sit-ups and push-ups or running up and down their own stairs.

“How many hours does it take you to jog around your compound?” Frye teasingly asked James.

“Man, shut up,” James replied.

James acknowledged that staying in his own home — a Brentwood mansion — is easier than what many people are currently experiencing.

“I just go back to my childhood me and my mom,” said James, who was unstably housed for most of his childhood. “That would’ve been hell. … At the end of the day it’s not about me asking people to stay home. Just take care of yourself and understand. Distance yourself from large groups of people. Complete strangers. Now it’s spring. Everybody thinks it’s spring break, the time to get around strangers. It’s not that time.”

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