LeBron James says he’s not retiring after openly pondering his NBA future

13 July 2023

LeBron James isn’t calling it quits just yet.

The Lakers star plans to return for a 21st NBA season after openly pondering his future, he confirmed during an acceptance speech at the 2023 ESPY Awards.

“I don’t care how many more points I score or what I can and cannot do on the floor,” James said Wednesday night. “The real question for me is can I play without cheating this game? The day I can’t give the game everything on the floor is the day I’ll be done. Lucky for you guys, the day is not today.”

The announcement earned a big cheer from the crowd at Los Angeles’ Dolby Theatre, where James was awarded with Best Record-Breaking Performance for becoming the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.

James, 38, has spoken about his desire to play with his 18-year-old son, Bronny James, an incoming USC freshman who is draft-eligible next year.

But James, a four-time NBA Finals winner, was noncommittal about his return after the Lakers were swept by the eventual-champion Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals.

“We’ll see what happens going forward,” James said in May. “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.”

On Wednesday, James said he had privately considered his future after previous seasons as well. James ultimately decided this offseason that he has “a lot left,” he said.

“What brings me back every year is watching and coaching my boys and their teammates,” James, who also has a 16-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter, told the ESPY crowd. “I see those kids and it brings me right back to why I play. Those kids get me back to where I need to be. It’s the pure love of this beautiful game.”

James is under contract with the Lakers next season and has a player option for the 2024-25 campaign. He previously played for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat.

The Lakers finished last season as the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference with a 43-39 record but put together a deep playoff run with series wins over the Grizzlies and Warriors.

This offseason, the Lakers have re-signed Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura and D’Angelo Russell while adding Gabe Vincent, Cam Reddish and Jaxon Hayes.


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