We don’t like to admit it, but we’re an ageist society.
While there are some good reasons for this (a 70-year-old would struggle to be a policeman or a firefighter), it’s also true that we often start to discriminate prematurely about the things a person should or shouldn’t be able to do based on their age.
Enter: LeBron James and his latest statistics (and the American public’s astonishment at them).
That’s right. It’s not just retirees who feel judged by their age. Even one of the greatest basketball players of all time – LeBron James – is not immune.
A recent Instagram post by SportsCentre, speaking about LeBron’s recent spate of form, was titled entitled, “HE’S 36 🤯”.
Lebron, over the last eight games he has achieved as follows:
LeBron James over the last 8 Games:— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) December 13, 2021
39 PTS, 6 AST, 5 REB
30 PTS, 11 AST, 7 REB
33 PTS, 9 AST, 5 REB
23 PTS, 6 AST, 11 REB
30 PTS, 5 AST, 4 REB
20 PTS, 11 AST, 10 REB
33 PTS, 6 AST, 5 REB
30 PTS, 10 AST, 11 REB pic.twitter.com/9CF6YEQbyh
Sportscetre re-posted this information, and their post sparked debate about Lebron’s age.
“Who else is doing this at 36 let me know,” one fan asked.
“LeAlmost 37,” quipped another.
“Wow here come the people who choose to discredit LeBron no matter what.”
“MVP,” wrote another.
Further remarks included: “Dudes proving everyone wrong, Wow that’s actually crazy.”
Another user said it’s a whole lot easier for Lebron to keep himself from aging than it is for the rest of us, writing: “He said he is spending 1m a year on his body…not everybody can afford that either…”
The discussion also involved other athletes who are proving age and experience can outclass youth and enthusiasm.
“Cristiano Ronaldo but better,” one Instagram user wrote, while another said: “Tom Brady is in his mid 40’s and is still leading almost every qb stat.”
Though it’s good there was a positive response to Lebron’s impressive statistics, the fact that there is a growing roster of high performing older athletes across all sorts of sports should mean we’re no longer (so) surprised when aging athletes earn a spot in elite teams (if they are good enough to do so).
Other icons like Zlatan Ibrahimović and Roger Federer have similarly proved that when it comes to performance, age is but a number. As another aging athlete (and legendary centre back) Sergio Ramos once said: there are not young players and old players, there are good players and bad players.
According to Ageism In Sports, “If you research ageism in sports, you find that the average age that athletes are said to hit their physical peak is far earlier than your average work employee is stereotyped to peak. That means that athletes on average will suffer from the effects of ageism earlier than the general population who is impacted by ageism stereotypes only when they show physical attributes of age.”
“Athletes who find themselves dealing with ageism in their line of work can still look the same as they did years ago, but their age, the number, is defining how they are being treated in the world of athletics. It’s said that athletes who can beat ageism in their sport are an anomaly, they are rare in the industry, and aren’t the norm.”
TWSN reports: “Youth is one of the highest valued assets in sports. In the NBA, the idea of potential overshadows almost all other variables. It is the reason why first round draft picks are nearly untouchable unless a team is trading for a superstar caliber player like Paul George or James Harden.”
“Aside from the true stars of the league, most of the older generation of players are unable to sustain longevity. Players barely over 30 are already outcast from the NBA because organizations would prefer to have an unpolished second-round twenty-year-old on their roster instead of a former 20+ PPG scorer who has shown a shade of decline.”
This makes Lebron’s incredible performances of late even more impressive. Let’s hope he keeps defying physics and biology for many years to come.