June 17, 2011

Why isn't LeBron James a fresh face?

Part of the reason everybody is sick of NBA star LeBron James is because, even though he is only 26-years-old officially, he looks like Red Foxx's uncle. The guy is really wrinkly. What's the deal? Is this from maturing young? Or did he have some chemical help? Or is he really like three years older, which is why he was so awesome when he was nominally 16?

Back in the 1980s, there was a very scary slugger named Jeff Leonard who hit a lot of highlight reel homeruns  (although not that many homers overall). His nickname was Old Penitentiary Face.

46 comments:

Thalassio said...

I'm surprised you're asking, Steve. It's not like you're unfamiliar with Rushton's life history theory of racial differences.

For those who are unfamiliar with it, it partly consists of asserting that blacks mature at a faster rate, and points to their shorter gestation time and quicker attainment of musculature (even as infants) and puberty as evidence.

LeBron looks older at 26 than even other blacks do because he's an extreme exemplar of his race's tendency.

Anonymous said...

Slowly, surely wins the race. You mentioned the Tiger Woods burned out prodigy case. We have had examples in Australian football of early starters, who everyone assumes will break the all-time game records, who burn out young. It seems that any player only has so many games in their legs and the meter is always running.
Gilbert P.

Londoner said...

In the 1990s and 2000s Manchester United had a Norwegian footballer called Ole Gunnar Solskjaer whose improbably youthful looks and goalscoring ability earned him the nickname 'baby-faced assassin'. When somewhat more grizzled and petulant teenage prodigy Wayne Rooney arrived at the club in 2004 he was rather inevitably christened the 'assassin-faced baby'.

Hapalong Cassidy said...

An even more extreme example is Portland's Greg Oden. Not only did he look about 40 when he was 19, but at the rate his body has been breaking down with injuries, one wonders whether he has some kind of rapid aging disease.

eh said...

Fresh does not come to mind when looking at James. Fotos like this might have something to do with that. He's probably looked more or less like an adult since he entered high school. In any case, it's difficult for adults to be 'fresh'. Especially mega-tatooed ones.

This is the oldest foto of him I could easily google up. There it says that interest from various college basketball powers was "High". I guess so!

green mamba said...

Posts like this are why Steve continues to provide an invaluable site, even after most of us agree on the principles of hbd. He expresses things we know but haven't thought of before.

djbudds said...

Lebron's father is a Princeton educated SEC lawyer.

http://www.balleralert.com/forum/topics/lebron-sued-by-man-claiming-to?commentId=2015113%3AComment%3A792989

Anonymous said...

...and who is this "Dwyane" Wade - ? Not a typo, I presume. LOL

TylerD said...

Doubt looks has anything to do with it. 10 years worth of a relentless media hype machine is enough to nauseate anyone.

Chicago said...

Looks more like he's from a different species what with his head shape and all.

Anonymous said...

He looks like a Neanderthal, but so does Dirk Nowitski.

sykes.1 said...

You are forgetting Granville Waiters, star center for the OSU Buckeyes. He was bald in high school, and looked like he was 50 in college.

Guys like this are fairly common in sports. I have often wondered whether athletic success is really a matter of early maturation.

Anonymous said...

Why isn't LeBron James a fresh face?

lol I was wondering the same thing: LeBron looks 50, and I think the transformation happened recently (perhaps in part due to the pressure of leaving Cleveland).

Whatever his real age is, I predict that his skills will start declining much earlier than the typical NBA star--I give James another 3 years of peak performance, so he better win a championship, which I don't believe will happen for him because, at heart, he's a choke artist.

Shar Pei LeBron said...

LeBron's move to Miami exemplifies how he's adopted to and is now pushing the NBA thuggish norm.

No doubt, that includes a lot of hard living and partying which will prematurely age you.

Other stars who have not aged well probably for similar reason. One funny quote (with a better than avg pic of her):

Amy Winehouse

Actual Age: 26 Perceived Age: 46

Besides looking like a crackhead, Amy Winehouse looks like an old crackhead. Like Lindsay Lohan, Winehouse's drug use has ravaged her skin and left her looking like Keith Richards. Winehouse was once a pretty woman, but her drug addiction, past eating disorders, and drug-related infections have taken a toll on her face. She's only 26 years old, but she looks 26 years old in dog years.

Anonymous said...

He doesn't look as wizened as LeBron.

-Osvaldo M.

Camlost said...

Yeah, well Greg Oden is 23 and looks 60:

http://i374.photobucket.com/albums/oo187/romes3000/oden.jpg

And he's got the joints of an old man, too.

Anonymous said...

LeBron James comes from a stock of African people who seem to share this characteristic of looking older than their yrars. Slave traders dealt mainly with coastal populations because it was easier for trans shipment. James's ancestors, however, lived further inland and ironically were forced into much harder labor. It was only after the international slave trade ended that these inland groups could seek immigration to the new world. The relative isolation they were subjected to also lead to more developed intellectual environment and the resulting level of maturity.

gfs said...

Lots of people mature early without aging any faster than anyone else. I'd guess time in the sun, poor nutrition, drugs of some sort and/ hard partying are the culprits.

AllanF said...

Hmm, perhaps explains the forgettable Greg Oden as well?

rjp said...

Just the other day when he was on TV whining I was thinking to myself "This guy looks like he is at least in his late 30s."

Anonymous said...

Could be worse, he could look 30,000-years old like Greg Oden...

DCThrowback said...

First off, LeBron has been in the collective consciousness now for 10 years! Remember the build up to the draft lottery? Just seems like he's older.

Secondly, Greg Oden thinks LeBron looks positively childlike. Oden, btw, is twenty-freaking-three.

Finally, I think Jason Whitlock called the headbands that guys like LeBron and Jason Terry wore in the Finals "receding hairline bands."

alonzo portfolio said...

Jeffrey Leonard was an interesting guy. In 1979 for the Astros, he had 467 plate appearance in 134 games, and hit 0 home runs. He didn't look older than his listed age, it's just that he wouldn't smile for the camera. According to a local writer, in spring training '84, Giants coach Don Buford yelled, "Leonard, come here, I need you." Leonard responded, "don't call my name again, man." He attended Overbrook, same high school as Wilt Chamberlain.

MQ said...

No chemical help -- he's always looked way older than his chrono age, dating from 10th grade when he first came on the national scene. He's an absolute genetic/athletic freak.

Anonymous said...

Former basketball phenom (e.g. before he destroyed his knees about 3 times in 3 years) Greg Oden at 19 years of age:

http://www.playahata.com/images/celebpics/greg_oden1.jpg

I'm sure it is a developmental thing--you grow into the body of a 28 year old man in high school and, well, you're going to look like one. Or in Oden's case, maybe a 40 year old.

Insightful said...

If you think Lebron looks old you should look again at NBA player Greg Oden of the Portland Trailblazers. He is only 23 and looks older than Lebron. By the way, anyone notice the facial similarity between Lebron and Greg Oden. They look like they could be twins...

Dennis Dale said...

Part of the problem is he looks like the Iron Giant:

http://tinyurl.com/3awpmx2

AllanF said...

Greg Oden, "19" y.o. college freshman

DougRisk said...

Is his face, or development, really that different from Greg Oden?

That is, looking like an adult at a very young age.

Dahinda said...

"he looks like Red Foxx's uncle."

Ironically, Whitman Mayo, who played Redd Foxx's friend Grady on Sanford and Son was only in his early 40s when he played Grady. He always played the parts of men much older than he really was. LeBron can maybe get the part of Grady in a Sanford and Son remake!

Truth said...

Funny the way aging has changed, in both ways, Dahinda mentioned Whitman Mayo woh was 42 when Sanford and Son Started. The interesting thing is that Redd Foxx was only 49 and Demond Wildon was 25, yet they played, and seemed much older on the show.

That might just seem strange now because of all of the 27 year olds who play high school kids on TV now.

Imagine what a scandal it would be if all of the wunderkinds were taking some sort of growth hormone to speed up their maturity. Not only Oden and LeBron, but when Bryce Harper was 16, he looked like a 25 year-old with a stupid haircut.

Imagine

fdas said...

In the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, actor Lionel Jeffries played the father of Dick Van Dyke who is one year older than Jeffries.

Many examples abound in movies of this.

Anonymous said...

I thought "black don't crack?"

exfoliant abuser said...

King James's prematurely haggard visage comports with the suggestions over the past year that the NBA took a page from the McMahons and retooled their flickering teen supernova into an all-purpose caricature of villainy. He's not the strong-silent-sullen type like so many pituitary cases in pro sports, but he ain't quite jocular and good-natured either. The cragginess is sharpest when he smiles in that broadly self-satisfied way of his...

Severn said...

Besides looking like a crackhead, Amy Winehouse looks like an old crackhead.

IIRC, Winehouse looks like a crackhead because she is one. Someone needs to lock her in the detox center and throw away the key.

Dutch Boy said...

Mr. James is facially challenged (he looked like Emmett Kelly in the photo they took of him after game 7 of the Dallas series).

Londoner said...

Roger Daltrey of The Who is probably the most alarming example of natural anti-aging that I have ever observed. Even adjusting for the facelifts etc that he has doubtless had, he looks outrageously young and has done for the past 15 years. Any anecdotal evidence of how long men who visibly age prematurely live, compared to the average? I'm guessing their odds are not good. Retaining youthful looks into one's sixties and beyond must be one of the greatest gifts life can bestow, especially for a man. For the record, I am thirty years old and have been told I look '34 or 35' since my early twenties.

Anonymous said...

A lot of blacks look really young into old age: arsenio hall and chris rock both could pass for late 20's. Denzel and Will Smith look younger than their years as well.

WTF said...

A lot of blacks look really young into old age: arsenio hall and chris rock both could pass for late 20's. Denzel and Will Smith look younger than their years as well.

Their entertainers - not at all representative. Of course they are going to be (a)selected for youthful looks and (b)spend a fortune to maintain them.

Like E.Europeans, Mediterrean types and Latinos, Blacks tend to lose their fitness and figure very young. Face and skin can look younger, but obesity ages one very quickly.

Sword said...

Counterexample:

Merlene Ottey.

Born 1960, winning international sprint medals from 1980 to 2000. Still competing, for her adopted country Slovenia, in the year 2010 European championships.

Noted for good looks, not ravaged by time. She holds sprint world records for each age year between 30 and 40.

Two pictures of her at age 50:
http://www.bcn2010.org/paginasFront/Noticies/Detall_Noticies_/_IZ5g6X2evdHtKyMtyaZJdhhdFfQDAPI5pWMbTpXzwcZ7LRTK51qBS52lxDUjv_YNfZjhINTz38XP-sf06-aXnflDIOvdRcku

Steve Sailer said...

If they ever remake that cheezy 1950s sci-fi movie about astronauts being taken prisoner by the Amazons of Venus, I would definitely call for casting Merlene Ottey as the Queen of the Amazons.

She's been sprinting for my entire adult life. She got a bronze medal at the Moscow Olympics in 1980. She made it to the semifinals of the 100m in the Beijing Olympics of 2008. Presumably, she's taken some drugs to stay competitive with the crazy East German and American 'roiders, but she looks younger than LeBron.

Her problem in the Olympics has been that she's not a great four-round sprinter. She's a great once-a-week sprinter, but she gets worn down by having to sprint three times to make the finals.

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding me? White people ages the worst facially. That is why you should always subtract 10 years when you try to guess a white person's age.

A white woman in her late 20s will have wrinkles all over her face, especially dark circles underneath her eyes, that is why wrinkle-reducing lotions and gobs of make-up are needed to cover it up, and are selling like hot-cakes to these people.

When you live in a glass house ...

Anonymous said...

Martin Luther King was only 39 when he died. He certainly looked much older than that to me.

Perspective said...

"A white woman in her late 20s will have wrinkles all over her face, especially dark circles"

Hereditary dark circles tend to be very common among South Asians, Middle Easterns (including Jews) and Mediterranean people. I've had dark circles under my eyes since I was a child. Even under optimal sleeping conditions they never seem to go away.

Anonymous said...

"A white woman in her late 20s will have wrinkles all over her face, especially dark circles underneath her eyes, that is why wrinkle-reducing lotions and gobs of make-up are needed to cover it up, and are selling like hot-cakes to these people. "

Oh, I dunno, Gobs (you are the famous "white women wear gobs of make-up" who comments on every thread dealing with racial beauty differences aren't you?)
I do know lots of white women in their late 20s (very few of whom are full of wrinkles) and beyond, including a 60-plus with flawless porcelain skin, who would prove you just be a jealous ranter. In any case, the fact that some dark women might be somewhat less ugly than lighter ones in later years (hardly a sure thing anyway), is not enough to influence many people during the young years when looks really matter.

Anonymous said...

The idea that blacks don't wrinkle as fast as whites isn't new. Black skin contains a far greater amount of melanin, which reduces sun damage. Packing on extra pounds helps even things out too. It really has nothing to do with a 'faster rate of maturity', LeBron being a probable exception.