LeBron James never seriously considered retirement even if the thought was shared at the end of the Western Conference finals.
James, 38, said Monday he’s committed to winning a championship with the Los Angeles Lakers. He averaged 28.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 6.8 assists in 55 regular-season games in 2022-23.
“I feel like I’ve got a lot more in the tank to give — at that moment, I didn’t,” James said of hinting at retirement after the Lakers were eliminated by the Denver Nuggets in the conference finals in May. “At that moment, I didn’t. I was exhausted. I was tired. Mentally, I was in too many different places.
“That’s just how I felt at the moment. But I’m happy to be returning for another season and hopefully leading this team to the promised land. That’s just the goal.”
James said he played with a torn tendon in his foot for the final month of the regular season and playoffs. With rest and strength exercises, he said he’s fully healthy for his sixth season with the Lakers and 21st in the NBA.
James has added motivation since the Finals ended, namely the health of his son, Bronny. Bronny James, a freshman at Southern California and one of the top-ranked recruits in college basketball, isn’t practicing with the Trojans after a cardiac incident on July 24 forced him to be hospitalized. LeBron James’ oldest son was diagnosed with “an anatomically and functionally significant congenital heart defect” in August.
“I’m going to dedicate this season to Bronny because of the incident that happened this summer. It just puts everything in perspective and no matter what’s going on in that point and time in your life, the only thing that matters is your family,” LeBron James said. “To see what he had to go through, what he’s been through over the last few months, it’s been a lot. I can only imagine how it’s been for him. Because it’s been a lot for me. It’s been a lot for our family.
“But the man above has definitely given us a lot of strength, has given Bronny a lot of strength to bounce back. If he was to walk through the door right now, you wouldn’t even know that he had what he had because of how well he’s moving, how vibrant he is. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to have him where he is today.”
James is a 19-time All-Star, a four-time league MVP and a four-time champion. He is the all-time leading scorer in NBA history with 38,652 points.