Although LeBron James didn’t seem to miss a beat after sitting out over a month’s worth of action due to a strained groin, the Los Angeles Lakers superstar might have tipped the scales at a career-high weight upon his return to the court. That was the theory floated about by ESPN’s Brian Windhorst on a recent episode of the network’s Hoop Collective podcast, as cited in a report from USA Today‘s HoopsHype.
According to HoopsHype, all of Windhorst’s fellow NBA analysts on The Hoop Collective agreed that James has looked larger than usual since his return from injury. Windhorst then expounded on this, explaining that the lack of physical activity, combined with the fact that LeBron was hurt right in the thick of the 2018-19 NBA season, led to the four-time MVP going well over his listed weight of 250 pounds.
“He got injured midway through the season. He couldn’t do his normal workouts. Normally, he is able to build into great shape … He’s just off. The word on the street is that LeBron is 280 right now … I mean, he carries it well.”
As pointed out by HoopsHype, reports of LeBron James playing at a significantly heavier weight than usual are nothing new. The publication also cited a 2014 report from ESPN, where the outlet’s Adam Reisinger wrote that “most observers” believe the 6-foot-8-inch forward played his last few seasons with the Miami Heat at 275 to 280 pounds. Still, that didn’t stop James from winning two MVP awards in Miami and averaging 25.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 6.4 assists during his four seasons with the team, per Basketball-Reference.
Furthermore, HoopsHype noted that NBA trainer Travelle Gaines disputed Windhorst’s estimate of James’ current playing weight, as he told the publication that the Lakers star might be closer to 260 pounds at the moment.
“LeBron has the best sports performance around him. He is always going to be in top shape.”
Regardless of how much weight he may or may not have gained during his layoff, another USA Today blog, LeBron Wire, pointed out that James took precautions against unwanted weight gain by going on a diet in the immediate aftermath of his groin injury. However, the publication added that James’ comparative lack of activity in the weeks that followed still might have led to his conditioning taking “something of a hit.”
In the five games he has played since his return, LeBron James has averaged a triple-double with 23.2 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 11 assists per game, according to ESPN. The Lakers, however, have yet to bounce back from their ongoing slump, as they sit at 10th in the Western Conference with a 28-29 record at the All-Star break.