Shannon Sharpe on how long LeBron James can play at an elite level

Video Details

Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless discuss LeBron James and how long can he play in the NBA at an elite level.

- Shannon, how much longer can he play at this level?

- I believe he can play at the level that he's playing at right now currently probably two years and then, even a year after that, I still believe he could be a top 10 player. I think what's happening, Skip, is that with the advent of nutrition and training and what guys know now, guys, not only do they enter into their prime sooner, they get to stay there longer.

And if you take football, Skip, quarter-- you see in these quarterbacks-- you see Brady, you see Manning, you see Brees-- because they play a position and the way they play it, athleticism is not required. So they get the-- you know, they use more of their mind. But as a skilled-position player, every once in a while, you'll get a Jerry Rice that can play 20 years at a skill. But as your skill, your athleticism, start to deteriorate, you can't play at that level.

LeBron James realized-- and Michael Jordan, Kobe realized this. Michael Jordan said, you know what? There's a good chance, as I start to age, I'm not going to be able to take off from the free throw line. Kobe's like, you know what? I'm not going to be able to be as acrobatic as I once was in my early 20s, so let me develop something else.

They went to that fall-away jumper. They got better at their footwork game. And so now, they could do other things than glide through the air. So they were able to stay at the top of their game for a lot longer than what we had seen previous athletes. We've never see anybody like LeBron James. So basically, he's Magic Johnson with Karl Malone's body.

So-- and where he was always only just freight training his way to the basket, he's like-- you know, he went that offseason, he worked with Hakeem Olajuwon, he worked on his footwork. And so now, that turnaround, Skip. You see him have that thing going against Toronto. He had it going against Boston. And when he gets that going, hey, all you do is just look at your coach. I got nothing.

And he's improved his three-point shot. So Skip, with the way he spends and the way he takes care of his body, estimated somewhere between $1.5 and $2 million a year annually, Skip, he's spending more on his body than, say, what, 10, 15 years ago, guys made in salary!

SKIP BAYLESS: That's true.

- So they couldn't spend that kind of money. And a lot of time, it's getting better, Skip. Technology is getting better, what we know, how we treat certain things. And knock on wood, he's never ever had an injury that put him down for a substantial amount of time. We know as guys-- Magic started pulling his hamstring. Mailman started having problems with his knees. Guys start having problems. But through a blessing of God and the way he trains and the way takes care of himself, Skip, he's been able to avoid that.

So I believe he can stay right where he is currently for another two years. And then, you'll start to see, all of a sudden, he'll be a top five, top 10 player. But I believe for two more years, he can be the LeBron James that we see right now-- also dependent on where he goes, because he might go somewhere where this LeBron James is not needed.

SKIP BAYLESS: That's true. Very possibly. I'm going to hit your last point first.