LeBron James Cannot Let Battle With Father Time Get in the Way of Player Safety

LeBron James giving a press conference
LeBron James giving a press conference / FREDERIC J. BROWN/Getty Images

Lakers superstar LeBron James was having yet another MVP-caliber season en route to leading LA to the best record in the Western Conference. With the 2019-20 NBA season on hiatus, however, there are a whole lot of questions flying around concerning whether or not the season will -- or should -- come back sometime this summer.

From James' perspective, he was not simply battling his adversaries on the court each and every night this year; he was also fighting the longstanding battle that any aging star has to go up against: Father Time, who is still undefeated. LBJ turned 35 this past December and won't be able to play forever, but he cannot lose sight of the league's No. 1 priority, which is protecting players in the best way possible. Any plans for the short- and long-term future of the league must begin with health and safety, period.

LeBron has given a ton to the game of basketball his 16 years and counting in the NBA. With his longevity and greatness, some of of greatest individual numbers ever and championship moments with two different franchises, his contribution to the NBA history book is unparalleled. But the King also has to take into account that he is much closer to the end than to the beginning of his career. The league needs a plan that's sustainable far, far beyond the bounds of simply his own playing days.

The next important step in this process is a players’ vote, in which they formally decide if they want to continue with the current season. For James, it is clear that he wants to play and finish what he has started with the 2019-20 Lakers. If that would not be possible, though, player safety is of the utmost importance, and LeBron would have to figure out his next move individually while taking the macro scale of the league into account.