Lebron James has been the best player in the NBA for at least 10 years now sometimes wearing a headband . At the age of 33, many people are wondering how the King manages to keep it up even in the later stages of his career, and how long he will be able to stay at this elite level before another player takes up the mantle of best player in the league.
Of course Lebron’s talent and unbelievable work ethic are what keeps him where he is but what should not be overlooked is his famous headband (and other accessories for that matter). It has been shown that there are pretty stark changes in Lebron’s shooting numbers when he changes his attire for games. During the 2014-15 season (his first season back in Cleveland after leaving Miami) Lebron experimented with different outfits a lot, seemingly to see how different combinations of accessories affected his performance. And oh boy, it made a big difference in some cases.
A Reddit user shared an image from @nbaayy which showed his shooting stats in the different outfits.
You can see in the infographic Lebron’s performance in each of the 3 main statistical shooting categories: field goal percentage (FG%), 3-point field goal percentage (3P%), and free throw percentage (FT%).
Surprisingly, Lebron’s best performance in each category came with different outfits. His best performance as a 3 point shooter is when he wears the headband and the shooting sleeve on his right arm. Whereas his best performance is the complete opposite, with no headband and the shooting sleeve on his left arm. Furthermore his best free throw shooting percentage was when he had no accessories on at all.
While Lebron’s free throws have been a weakness in his game ever since his rookie season, his FG% and 3P% took a rather large hit when he wore no accessories, so despite it elevating his FT% it is probably not worth pursuing that option any further.
Another perceived weakness in Lebron’s game is his 3P% although in general he is a pretty average to good shooter from deep. This is especially the case when wearing the headband and sleeve on the right arm. He has a solid 38.7 3P% when using this combination to go along with a pretty good FG% and an average FT%.
Wearing the sleeve on the right and no headband may give him the best FG% according to these stats, however his FT% and 3P% are both lower than with headband and right sleeve.
As Lebron ages, he is becoming more and more reliant on his outside shot so 3P% is a statistical category that he should look to prioritise. By this logic it is reasonable to suggest that his best combination of accessories would be to wear his famous headband and also a shooting sleeve on his right arm. What he goes with remains to be seen and will probably depend on how his accessories look in that renowned purple and gold.