On Wednesday (Dec. 28), the 37-year-old spoke to media following the Lakers’ 112-98 loss to the Miami Heat and shared how he balances his focus on team success while being cognizant of his own career arc.
“I mean, I have multiple thoughts,” the four-time NBA champ told reporters. “I think of the day-to-day of how we [can] get better throughout the course of this season, but how we get better from game to game. And I think about how much longer I’m gonna play the game. I think about that I don’t wanna finish my career playing at this level, from a team aspect. I wanna still be able to compete for championships ’cause I know what I can bring to any ball club with the right pieces.”
He continued, adding “I’m a winner and I want to win. I want to still compete for championships and that’s been my passion and goal since I entered the league as an 18 year-old kid out of Akron, Ohio. Playing basketball just to be playing basketball is not in my DNA anymore. It’s not in my DNA anymore. So we’ll see what happens and see how fresh my mind stays over the next couple years.”
James’ comments come amid the Lakers’ continued struggles throughout the 2022-2023 NBA regular season, with the team’s current 14-21 record deemed a disappointment. The Lakers’ loss to the Heat marked their ninth defeat over their past thirteen games, placing them at 13th in the Western Conference and last in their division.
The former MVP’s track record of leaving teams in an attempt to improve his odds of racking up rings leads many pundits to believe that he could possibly explore options elsewhere in the future. And with two years and $97 million remaining on his contract — and his desire to play with his sons in the NBA being well-documented — LeBron’s quips about being able to contend “with the right pieces” is sure to ramp up chatter about how long he’ll suit up for the purple and gold.
As for how many more seasons he’ll play before retiring, James says he has no idea, but believes he’s yet to reach the twilight of his career.
“I don’t have a number,” the SpringHill company co-founder said of when he’ll hang up his sneaks. “I know as long as my mind stays in it, I can play at this level for a minute. Now, that’s up to my mind. My body is going to be OK because if my mind is into it, I will make sure my body is taken care of and I’ll continue to put in the work.”
In the Lakers’ matchup against the Heat, James posted an impressive stat-line, leading his team in points (27), rebounds (9) and assists (6). He is currently averaging 27.8 points per game on the season, placing him at ninth in the league in that category.