LeBron James appears to be contemplating retiring from the game of basketball following the Los Angeles Lakers’ being swept by the Denver Nuggets in the NBA Western Conference Finals.
On Monday evening (May 22), during a press conference following the Nuggets’ 113-111 defeat of the Lakers in Game 4 of the series, James seemed uncertain about his future in the NBA. The superstar told reporters that he has “a lot to think about” while evaluating the past season and determining the next steps in his career.
“I don’t play for anything besides winning championships at this point in my career and I don’t get a kick out of making a conference appearance,” James, 38, said. “I’ve done it a lot. And it’s not fun to me to not be able to be a part of and, you know, get to the Finals. So, we’ll see. We’ll see what happens going forward, but I don’t know. I don’t know. I’ve got a lot to think about to be honest. And just for me personally going forward with the game of basketball, I’ve got a lot to think about.”
When asked to expound on those remarks, according to ESPN, James said he has to weigh his desire “to continue to play” moving forward.
Having completed his 20th season in the NBA, James is already among the most decorated players in NBA history. Earlier this season, the four-time NBA champion and NBA MVP became the league’s all-time leading scorer after surpassing former Laker and Hall of Fame center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for most career points scored in the regular season. He also holds the record for most regular season and postseason points combined.
Despite his age and on-court mileage, James has proven himself as one of the top players in the league, which makes his hint at possible retirement even more shocking. He was named Third Team All-NBA after averaging 28.9 points per game, 8.3 rebounds per game and 6.8 assists per game. After starting the 2022-23 regular season with a 2-10 record, James willed the Lakers to the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference, upsetting the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors to secure a Western Conference Finals appearance. The Lakers’ loss to the Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals marks the third time a James-led team has been swept in a playoff series.
One factor that could affect his decision to leave the game is the potential opportunity to play in the league at the same time as his son, Bronny James, a top high school basketball prospect who recently committed to play at the University of Southern California. Bronny, who is projected to be a lottery pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, would first be eligible to play in the league during the 2024-25 NBA season.
“I need to be on the floor with my boy, I got to be on the floor with Bronny,” James said of his remaining goals after becoming the all-time leading scorer. “Either in the same uniform or a matchup against him.”