LeBron James might be ready to say goodbye to the court. After the Los Angeles Lakers were knocked out of the Western Conference Finals by the Denver Nuggets on May 22, LeBron seemed to be contemplating a new chapter after his 20-season powerhouse run.
“I don’t play for anything besides winning championships at this point in my career,” he admitted during a post-game press conference, “and I don’t get a kick out of making a conference appearance.
“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,” he continued. “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. LeBron clarified to ESPN that he meant he would consider if he wanted to “continue” playing.
Often hailed as one of the greatest athletes of all time, LeBron still holds his own in the game, scoring 40 points in Monday night’s match. The 19-time NBA All-Star asserted that he still feels he’s better than “maybe 95 percent” of the league’s players.
Having surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s NBA scoring record in February, LeBron’s remarkable feat sparked an outpouring of celebratory messages from fellow athletes and celebrities, including Rihanna, Drake, and Snoop Dogg.
“I am so grateful to witness this moment in history,” the “Umbrella” singer said in a clip shown by the NBA on TNT. “My favorite thing about being a LeBron James fan is just watching you prove yourself over and over again against all odds and all doubt. Thank you for repping for all of us. Keep striving for greatness always and congratulations, King James.
Charles Barkley noted “this is one of the greatest accomplishments in sports history,” while Magic Johnson praised LeBron for changing the game entirely.
Battling injuries over the recent years, including an ankle injury in 2022 and a groin injury in 2019, the four-time league MVP and two-time Olympic gold medalist, remained relentless on the court. Even this season, while pursuing his fifth NBA Championship, he played through a right foot injury that might necessitate surgery.
Despite these challenges, LeBron powered the Lakers deep into the playoffs, affirming his unwavering commitment to the game. “Obviously, I knew I had to deal with it and deal with the pain or deal with not being able to be myself before the injury,” he told ESPN, “but there was nothing that made me feel like I couldn’t get to the finish line.
Yet, LeBron has one more milestone in his sights: to share the court with his son, Bronny. The 18-year-old, who recently committed to play basketball at the University of Southern California, would be first eligible to play in the NBA in 2024. I need to be on the floor with my boy, I got to be on the same floor with Bronny,” LeBron said in February. “Either in the same uniform or a matchup against him.
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