Yahoo Sports and Turner Sports NBA insider Chris Haynes reports that the Phoenix Suns’ Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James spend $1 million and $1.5 million respectively on their bodies. The body maintenance reportedly covers trainers, massage therapists, personal chefs and nutritionists.
“Longevity at a high level comes at a cost. Chris Paul will be 37 in May, and his production hasn’t dipped. He shared with me this morning that he spends about $1 million on body maintenance ranging from trainers, nutritionists, personal chefs, massage therapists. His good friend LeBron James reportedly spends about $1.5 million on his body.”
Paul, who turns 37 in May, and LeBron, who is 37, remain elite NBA players at an age where production and impact have already been in steady decline for a few years. But thanks to modern technology, sports science and riches, there is no reason an NBA player can’t remain elite late in his career.
Ages 26-31 were the peak production years on average for NBA players, but stars now can extend that peak or have second and even third peaks.
Of the top 10 players in the league in EPM, five of the 10 are 31 or older: James, Paul, Steph Curry, Jimmy Butler and Kevin Durant.
On the NFL side, Tom Brady retired this past week at age 44. Brady credits his longevity to his patented “TB12 Method,” a holistic approach to performance and recovery.
If an athlete is truly committed to this process, they can play at a high level in their late 30s and possible early 40s. Gone are the days of just using a cold tub, stretching and things of that nature.
Athletes are regimented about what they eat and drink; there are devices that measure circadian rhythms during sleep. The most important part of this process for athletes experiencing extended or additional peaks is the focus on recovery.
As you age, recovery becomes exponentially more critical in an athlete’s ability to repeat elite performances. That’s the challenge. If you’ve been an elite athlete you can always dial it up one more time in your late 30s. But in order to do it consistently, you have to work harder and invest more in your recovery.
Paul is sixth in the NBA in EPM. He was just named to his 12th All-Star team and might make his 11th All-NBA team at season’s end. The Suns are the best team in the league, and look poised to make a second consecutive trip to the NBA Finals.
James is third in the NBA in EPM, and is having one of his best shooting seasons at 59 and 62 eFG% and TS% respectively. He was selected to his 18th All-Star team, and will make his 18th All-NBA team at season’s end. While his Lakers have dealt with injuries and a poor fitting roster, he remains one of the most feared players in the league in a playoff series.
What both these men are doing is absurd, and fans of these players and their teams should appreciate it. Being able to witness sustained excellence and greatness for 10-15 and possibly 20 years is a privilege.
More from our partners: