CHICAGO (AP) — Brandon Miller was just over three weeks from birth when LeBron James made his NBA debut with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003.

Two decades later, James is still near the top of the league Miller is about to enter.

“Twenty years is a long time. I myself am 20 years old. I feel old,” Miller said jokingly.

Drew Timme participates during the 2023 NBA Basketball Draft Combine in Chicago, Monday, May 15, 2023. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

The prospects who gathered in Chicago this week for the NBA Combined Draft still see James as the gold standard, 20 years after he made the leap from St. Mary-St. Vincent High School in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.

They see a player who entered the league when they were in diapers, or not even born, still going strong at 38 years old. He has a chance to cap a season in which he surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s scoring king by being crowned. champion for the fifth time, with the Lakers facing the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference finals.

They see the results of the work you put in to stay in top shape, the contributions you make on and off the pitch. And they take notes.

“I feel like as long as I take care of my body, and that’s the greatest thing LeBron has ever done,” Scoot Henderson said. “He also made a name for himself off the pitch. … Everybody knows LeBron because of how dominant he is as a player. But as a person, he is powerful. I see that a lot in myself. I think I can be at that level of greatness.”

Widely projected along with Miller as a top-three pick behind Victor Wembanyama, Henderson is well aware of the opportunities that lie ahead.

He formed a partnership with Stephen Curry that is helping him build his own business brand and giving him access to shooting coaches and a training team. As role models, the Golden State Warriors star is obviously good.

Henderson said he has tried to eliminate fried foods from his diet, eat more fruit and get plenty of rest, particularly while going through the draft process. He has been active in the community, organizing food drives for Thanksgiving and plans to keep it that way. Although she is working with Curry, he is also following a similar example set by James.

Miller, coming off the most productive season ever for an Alabama freshman, envisions playing 20 years from now. That’s because he is dedicating himself to keeping himself in top condition.

“I think I’ll still be in the league,” Miller said. “I think the most important thing about LeBron is that he takes care of his body. That’s the most important thing about being in the NBA: the body. He plays a big part of the career that you build in the league.”

Gonzaga star Drew Timme grew up near Dallas rooting for Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks. But in his mind, James is “the GOAT”.

“That’s a testament to how much he pours into his own body,” said Timme, whose first memories of him are in Miami. “Playing 20 years in the league is crazy. Not many people can say that they have done that. I’m sure he brings a lot to himself in terms of proper nutrition, strength and conditioning.”

But for Timme, James’ example goes beyond that.

“He is a good family man,” he said. “He makes sure his family is okay. I feel like I’m pretty family oriented as well. My family is pretty strong like yours.”