LeBron James and the Cavaliers will face off against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals on Thursday, making it three years in a row that the league’s two powerhouses threw down in a winner-take-all series for basketball’s greatest title.
The series also marks James’ seventh Finals appearance in as many years, and if you’ve watched an inch of NBA programming this season you’re aware that basketball analysts are both in awe of James’ durability while simultaneously speaking of it in hushed tones like he might explode at any minute.
But here’s the thing: LeBron will play—and not play—when he wants to. That much I’ve learned over the years with little to no proof to the contrary. If LeBron so desires, he’ll stay in the league and average 16-8–6 until he’s collecting Social Security and forgetting your cousins’ names.
In this spirit, I went ahead and imagined some scenarios/scenes that would play out along the way if James were to play in the NBA until the ripe old age of 50—which would means you’d be able to turn on your holovision set in the year 2035 and still see LeBron James bullying the Hawks into nonexistence.
I wanted to know: What would middle-aged Bron act like? Would he be extremely dadly? A frugal old soul? Would he slowly but surely become his mother, as we’re all doomed to do if given enough time here on Earth.
The following are a few scenes/scenarios I definitely see in LeBron's future as he plays his way to the half century mark in the NBA. Try not to judge. We’ll all be porridge-shaped and wearing Tevas soon enough.
2019: LeBron's 'Uninterrupted' reaches 100 million followers
Uninterrupted, LeBron's direct-to-fan social media platform, will pay huge dividends in the coming years as fan desire for exclusive content grows alongside James' desire to complain about his neighbors putting a perfectly operational Weber grill on the curb like trash "over a little rust."
"He came in one day with his hair dyed and this one-piece, man-jumper thingy on," says teammate O.G. Anunonby. "He kept telling us LeBron was his basketball name and to call him 'Tango' from now on."
Years later James would reminisce on the bizarre season in his autobiography, The King & I.
"I bought a Corvette dealership," James wrote. "It was a dark time. "
2023: LeBron James' cigarette meme becomes reality for entire season
There are disagreements on the exact date, but basketball historians tend to agree it was at some point after receiving his tax return during the 2023-2024 NBA season when James began smoking American Spirits at shootaround and walking the Quicken Loans concourses in briefs and an Aerosmith t-shirt because he "pays the bills around here."
2025: LeBron & CP3 dissolve banana boat-service
Chris Paul and LeBron's banana boat ride-sharing startup goes under after failing to catch on with their target demographic of 18-24 Merlennials (young adults born before the discovery of Atlantis & its indigenous seapeople in 2019).
2026: LeBron accused of using bench players for spare parts
LeBron adamantly denies killing and blending Richard Jefferson into a nutrient-rich stem cell smoothie.
"We're not that far along in the process," James snapped at one particularly nosy robo-reporter.
2027: LeBron James returns to Cleveland after failed stint with Vegas Big Ballers
Cavaliers fans forgive LeBron for leaving Cleveland at the age of 42 to join the Vegas Big Ballers—a short-lived expansion team that was taken over by the league halfway through its inaugural season for dubious free agent recruiting tactics, and refusing to pay league fines, citing "Manifest Destiny" & "being back on that bull****" as exemptions.
2030: LeBron unveils the Soldier 35 "Stay Strappeds"
James flies to China in 2030 to unveil the Soldier 35s, his latest signature shoe and the first sneaker made entirely of velcro straps and LED lights that flash green when you’ve reached your daily step goal and red when you’re carrying the entire team on your shoulders.
2035: Original championship Cavs reunite at J.R. Smith charity event
With help from LeBron and other former teammates, New Jersey congressman Earl Smith Jr. launches Make-A-Wish-style charity for swaggerless youths.
"Bron helped me make the Pipe Dreams website," Smith said at the inaugural gala. "He showed me the files aren't inside the computer."