(In my singing voice): “Four million, three hundred and twenty thousand seconds. How…do you measure? Measure a career?”
If you don’t know the movie, educate yourself. Go “Rent” it somewhere and be cultured. But back to the task at hand. Kareem Adbul-Jabbar totaled 66,297 regular season and playoff minutes over the course of 20 seasons. That’s an average of 3,315 minutes per season which breaks further down to 40 minutes per game. In today’s game, that’s 40 minutes out of the 48 total game minutes. One must wonder the toll it must take on the body to play NBA basketball as a center, against the best players in the world 83 percent of the game, night after night for 20 seasons. The All-Time leader in minutes but someone is on pace to crush those numbers.
Through his 14 seasons, James has tallied a total of 50,399 regular and post season minutes. That’s an average of 3,600 minutes per season. At his current pace, if he were to play 20 seasons (which he is totally capable of doing) just as the all-time leading scorer, he’d log 72,000 total combined career and playoff minutes. That’s 4,320,000 seconds. That’s the number “The Chosen One” is headed towards. That’s how you measure a career.
“The King” has received much criticism for resting during the regular season. In 14 seasons, Lebron has never played all 82 regular-season games except for the lockout season where he played all 62 games. The 62 games played is the lowest regular season total in all 14 seasons. Still, the mileage he has put on is stunning. And after observing those insane numbers, why should anyone have any beef with him resting a game or two, other than playing five times face value for a ticket just to watch the best player in the world ride the pine. The dude takes care of his body, but what one takes from the body, the body will take back. Lebron knows exactly this, which is why he rests. He knows that it is a long season and he must be in full and the best health for the crucial and grueling playoff run.
Other players have gone on record vowing for a shorter season because playing at the highest level against the best players in the world on back-to-back nights is almost insanity. Players are stronger than they have ever been and banging in the post one night with the super physical Draymond Green and then Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan on a back-to-back set is absolute punishment on the body.
With all this in mind, next year when LBJ takes a game off, or two, or three, or four, or five, or how many ever he doesn’t dress, remember the numbers you have been provided in this article. Again, he’s on pace to total 72,000 minutes of basketball on the NBA hardwood. Just imagine an intense full body workout for 1,200 hours. That’s 180,000, entire 24-second shot clock possessions having to check the Kevin Durants, Russell Westbrooks, Steph Currys and James Hardens of the world. Trust me when I say, you’d need a break too. Cut the man some slack. Let him or anyone else who wants to rest if he chooses to. Let the man rest in peace.