A former Cavs player says LeBron James’ most impressive quality has little to do with basketball games themselves


LeBron James looks up during a game in 2021.

LeBron James. Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Images

  • Former Cavs player Kyle Korver said LeBron James’ dedication to his craft is his most impressive quality.

  • Korver said James’ ability to “recover in mind, body, and spirit” daily is “unbelievable.”

  • Korver said few could appreciate James’ hard work and consistency until they’ve been around him.

LeBron James’ most impressive feats are the ones most people don’t see, according to former NBA player Kyle Korver.

Speaking on JJ Redick’s podcast, “The Old Man and the Three,” Korver, who spent time with the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2016-2018, said he is in awe of James’ work ethic.

“How serious he takes his craft and how much work he puts into it every single day,” Korver said when asked about James’ dominance.

“It’s one thing to get to the top; it’s another thing to stay there,” Korver said. “I think what makes him great, his greatest attribute, is his ability to do it again tomorrow. His ability to recover in mind, body, and spirit on a day-to-day basis, it’s out of this world. It’s unbelievable.”

Korver said after an overtime game against the Utah Jazz, Korver went to the Cavs’ facility early to get treatment. He said he found James already there, on the Versa climber, saying, “I have to get ready for the playoffs.”

“When you’re with him, and you see his dedication to his craft, you see what he puts in every day, he is literally the first person there and the last person to leave every single day,” Korver said. “And he’s LeBron James, and he’s been to the Finals so many times in a row, he’s been MVP, all these things. To me, that is his greatest achievement, is just showing his ability to keep going, to stay mentally focused to do the work that he has to do to be who he is.”

James has long been known to take immaculate care of his body, treating it like an investment (indeed, James reportedly spends about $1.5 million annually on body care).

Kyle Korver looks up while standing next to a pointing LeBron James.

Kyle Korver and LeBron James in 2017. Nick Wass/AP Images

His endurance, consistency, and resiliency are perhaps best reflected in his run of eight straight Finals appearances that he made from 2011-2018. He missed the playoffs altogether in 2019, but came back to win the championship with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2020.

Korver said playing from September to June each season, for eight years, is not something to discount.

“I think people just see how big and strong he is – like, Michael Jordan, he had to take a break in the middle, after three [Finals appearances],” Korver said. “I’m not here to debate Michael and LeBron. But it’s a lot to be – not just be putting in the time, but to take the scrutiny that he does.”

James is perhaps starting to show some mortality this season, missing two games with a sprained ankle and now at least a week with an abdominal strain.

It’s early, however, and few know how to recover and peak at the right time like James.

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