Lakers star LeBron James won’t be retiring from the NBA — at least not now.
In what was a formality after a series of social media posts praising the Lakers’ offseason moves, James said he wasn’t through with the NBA during an acceptance speech Wednesday night at the ESPYs in Los Angeles.
“I don’t care how many more points I score or what I can or cannot do on the floor,” the NBA’s all-time leading scorer said during his acceptance speech for best record-breaking performance. “The real question for me is, ‘Can I play without cheating this game?’ The day I can’t give this game everything on the floor is the day I’ll be done,” James said. “Lucky for you guys, that day is not today.”
James surprised people with his comments at the end of his news conference after the Lakers were swept out of the Western Conference finals by the Denver Nuggets, hinting at an uncertain basketball future that sparked speculation about retirement despite James being under contract with the Lakers for at least the 2023-24 season.
Asked how he would evaluate his 20th season, in which he set the all-time scoring record, James sounded less than satisfied before ending with a cryptic message about his future.
“It was OK. I don’t like to say it’s a successful year because I don’t play for anything besides winning championships at this point in my career,” he said. “You know, I don’t get a kick out of making a conference [finals] appearance. I’ve done it, a lot. And it’s not fun to me to not be able to be a part of getting to the Finals. But we’ll see. We’ll see.
“We’ll see what happens going forward. I don’t know. I don’t know. I’ve got a lot to think about, to be honest. … Just for me personally going forward with the game of basketball, I’ve got a lot to think about.”
James is set to earn nearly $47 million next season and has a player option for approximately $50 million for 2024-25.
The four-time NBA champion has consistently spoken about a desire to play professionally with his oldest son, Bronny, who will play next season at USC.
“I was serious and I’m still serious about it,” he said after Bronny committed. “Obviously I got to continue to keep my body and my mind fresh. I think my mind, most importantly.”
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.
Source: Yahoo Sports