LeBron James acknowledged on Wednesday night that a few months ago he was questioning to himself his ability to keep performing “without cheating the game” and to still “give everything to the game.”
While accepting an award at the ESPYs in Los Angeles, James announced his decision to play for a 21st season.
“The day I can’t give everything on the floor is the day I’ll be done. Lucky for you guys, that day is not today,” James said on Wednesday.
A four-time NBA champion and four-time league Most Valuable Player, James had indicated that retirement was a possibility. It came just after the Los Angeles Lakers were swept by the eventual NBA champion Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals
James played all but four seconds in Game 4. He scored 40 points and had a floater that could have tied the game blocked in the final seconds.
“Going forward with the game of basketball, I’ve got a lot to think about,” he said as he finished meeting with reporters that night. When asked to elaborate on that comment, he said, “If I want to continue to play.”
James, who has been the Finals MVP four times and is a 19-time All-Star, averaged 28.9 points last season, slightly up from his career average of 27.2 per game. He averaged 8.3 rebounds and 6.8 assists in over 35 minutes.
His 50 percent field goal percentage was near the middle of his annual numbers, and his 32.1 percent on 3-pointers was his fifth-lowest.
The Lakers were 13-20 after losing 124-115 at Dallas on Christmas Day. Buoyed by several roster moves, they went 30-19 the rest of the way, then defeated the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves in overtime in the play-in round to claim the No. 7 seed in the playoffs
Los Angeles defeated the second-seeded Memphis Grizzlies and No. 6 Golden State Warriors — each in six games — to reach the conference final.
James’ 21st season will be the longest active run in the NBA, and tie him with Robert Parish, Kevin Willis, Kevin Garnett and Dirk Nowitzki. They trail only the 22-year career of Vince Carter.
–Field Level Media