After 20 incredible years in the NBA, LeBron James has added to speculation that he could finally be hanging up his sneakers for good.
This comes after the Los Angeles Lakers were swept out of the Western Conference Finals by Nikola Jokić and the Denver Nuggets following a disappointing 113-111 Game 4 loss.
“We’ll see what happens going forward. I don’t know,” the NBA’s all-time leading scorer said to reporters post-game. “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.”
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin said he followed up with James following the press conference to further elaborate on his comments adding that retirement is under consideration.
“When you say you got to think about stuff, what thread should we be pulling on that?” McMenamin said he asked to which James replied, “If I want to continue to play.”
James later added that he’d have to think about it when pushed further about walking away next year, according to McMenamin. The Lakers star has one year left in his contract with the team after signing a two-year contract extension prior to the season.
CNN has reached out to James’ representative but did not immediately hear back.
In the win-or-go-home game, LeBron and Co. were looking to make history by overcoming a 3-0 series deficit to advance to the NBA Finals.
Mission impossible almost got off to the perfect start, but the Nuggets came up strong in the clutch and thwarted James’ efforts to send the game to overtime.
Marked by Nuggets wing Aaron Gordon, ‘King James’ missed two opportunities to save the game. The first a tough shot way off the mark, bouncing off the side of the glass. Then with the season truly on the line, Gordon blocked a James floater with 1.1 left on the clock.
Monday’s reversal on considering retirement comes as a surprise after the four-time champion previously said he’d like to play his final NBA season alongside his son Bronny James in an interview with The Athletic in 2022.
“My last year will be played with my son,” James said. “Wherever Bronny is at, that’s where I’ll be. I would do whatever it takes to play with my son for one year. It’s not about the money at that point.”
In pictures: NBA great LeBron James
Despite the loss and his postgame comments, James’ Game 4 performance showed the 20-year veteran could easily continue his stellar career, to play with Bronny, if he so wished.
LeBron played all 48 minutes, scored 40 points on 15-of-25 shooting, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out nine assists, as the 38-year-old left it all on the floor in an all-encompassing performance.
Yet, as so often in his long career, LeBron’s individual brilliance wasn’t enough and the Nuggets were able to advance to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history without dropping a game in the series.
Jokić had another standout series for Denver, and the two-time regular season MVP was awarded the Magic Johnson Western Conference Finals MVP trophy.
In Game 4, the ‘Joker’ was at his all-around best, with 30 points, 14 boards and 13 assists. The latest in a long line of triple-doubles also meant that Jokić broke Wilt Chamberlain’s 1967 record of the most triple-doubles in a playoff run – the Serbian star adding his eighth of the postseason.
“I think he’s showing other people nationally that he’s real. Like what he’s doing is real. The MVPs are real. The triple-doubles are real,” said Nuggets head coach Michael Malone on his star player. “The guy is a great player; give him his damn respect. Stop chopping him down at the knees. He’s a great player and give him the respect he deserves.”
The Nuggets can now look forward to the NBA Finals as they wait to see who wins between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals.