21st NBA Season: LeBron James admitted on Wednesday night that he had doubts about his ability to continue playing “without cheating the game” and to “give everything to the game” a few months ago.
However, when accepting an award at the ESPYs in Los Angeles, James confirmed his intention to play another season.
“I’ll be done the day I can’t give everything on the floor. “Fortunately for you, that day is not today,” James remarked.
James, a four-time NBA champion and four-time league Most Valuable Player, had hinted at retirement. It happened just days after the Los Angeles Lakers were swept in the Western Conference Finals by the eventual NBA champion Denver Nuggets.
In Game 4, James played all but four seconds. He had 40 points and a floater that may have knotted the game in the final seconds blocked.
“Going forward with the game of basketball, I’ve got a lot to think about,” he remarked as he wrapped up a press conference that night. When pushed to elaborate, he answered, “If I want to continue playing.”
James, a four-time Finals MVP and a 19-time All-Star, averaged 28.9 points per game last season, a tiny increase over his lifetime average of 27.2 points per game. In over 35 minutes, he averaged 8.3 rebounds and 6.8 assists.
His 50% field goal percentage was in the middle of his season, while his 32.1 percent on three-pointers was the fifth-lowest.
LeBron's pregame ritual is art 👑
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) July 12, 2023
The Lakers were 13-20 following a 124-115 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Christmas Day. They went 30-19 the rest of the way, then beat the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves in overtime in the play-in round to earn the No. 7 seed in the playoffs.
Los Angeles advanced to the conference finals after defeating the second-seeded Memphis Grizzlies and the sixth-seeded Golden State Warriors in six games apiece.
James’ 21st season will tie him with Robert Parish, Kevin Willis, Kevin Garnett, and Dirk Nowitzki for the longest active run in the NBA. They are only second behind Vince Carter’s 22-year career.