LeBron James has slimmed down. So have fellow superstars Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade.
Somewhere in Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant must be smiling.
That's because Bryant, 35, has been preaching the virtues of weight loss for years, since he was around the age of James (29), Anthony (30) and Wade (32). Tony Manfred of Business Insider notes that when Bryant was James' age in the summer of 2007, he dropped 20 pounds and ended up having one of the best statistical seasons of his career. In 2007-08 Bryant started all 82 games, led the Lakers to the Finals and was named the NBA's MVP.
That summer Bryant was teammates with James, Anthony and Wade on the 2008 Olympic squad that won the gold medal. Perhaps the young trio took notice of Bryant's weight loss.
Last season Bryant tried to persuade then-teammate Pau Gasol to drop pounds as he transitioned into his mid-30s.
"I told [Gasol] I thought the thing that really helped me out, I dropped some weight," Bryant said in December 2013. "I told him he should probably measure it himself, see if that's something he needs to do himself. As we get older, our metabolism slows, we quietly become a little heavy."
Research shows that NBA players experience a significant drop in performance at 30, and that may be even more exaggerated for guys like James and Anthony, who have been in the league since they were teenagers.
It's no secret that NBA players look to slim down after they hit 30, and Tim Duncan and Ray Allen are two examples of veterans who have lost weight and also been able to maintain a high level of play into their third decade. But now that James, Anthony and Wade are all watching their weight, it appears that slimming down has never been more popular.
"Especially later on, as you get up in years, it's less wear and tear on your body," Hall of Famer Reggie Miller recently told TMZ. "So actually it's pretty smart. You saw what happened to LeBron in the Finals -- the cramping. I guarantee you he won't have those issues now that he's lost the weight."
Not every superstar needs to cut pounds, however, and reigning MVP Kevin Durant (who has sometimes been called the "Slim Reaper" for his slight frame) may not want to lose weight when he hits 30 years old in 2018.
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