LeBron James says he's playing at an "all-time level" entering the NBA Finals even as the 33-year-old superstar defies Father Time to stretch the prime years of his career.
"They always kind of talked about the NBA prime is like 27 and like 31, 32. That's if you're lucky, you'll get to that point," James said. "I don't know. I've just never really bought into that."
James recalled saying this season that "this is the best I've felt in my career.... And I continue to just play at an all-time-level standard for the rest of this season. Hopefully I can continue it in this Finals also."
James spoke Wednesday on the eve of his eighth consecutive NBA Finals appearance and ninth overall as he prepares to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers into a fourth straight championship series against the Golden State Warriors, who seek their third title in four seasons.
Exactly what level James can produce in the final is uncertain after playing 100 games in the season and playoffs combined since late October.
"The level that I can play at is to be seen, but the level I put into the game and put into my craft is who I am," James said.
"So numbers and things like that kind of take care of itself. But for me, I understand and I know how much I put into the game. So everything else is OK.
"I've always kind of told you guys that I don't really have a ceiling. I want to just try to maximize as much as I can and be as good as I can."
James has stressed being able to play this season, the first in which he did not miss a regular-season contest.
"I've been blessed to be available. That's what I take pride in more than anything, is being available to my teammates every single day," James said.
"I've been a leader to my teammates all year and I've put in the work. It's allowed me to be able to tomorrow suit up for the 101st consecutive time. We'll see what happens."
LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers works out during the 2018 NBA Finals Media Day at ORACLE Arena on May 30, 2018 in Oakland, California