LeBron James fired off a cryptic message on Monday that appeared to hint at his rumored retirement decision and legacy.
James has been quiet since the Los Angeles Lakers were bounced from the postseason via sweep but the rumor mill has been churning with speculation about his future.
James reposted an Instagram message from a fan account that read, “Definition of ‘HIM’ right here. Blessed to have been able to witness this career from the very beginning. Through all the hate, scrutiny and ridiculous expectations, Bron continues to rise. Let’s appreciate him while he’s still here. More greatness on the way…”
James added his own message, channeling some Jay Z lyrics — which he has on a few occasions lately.
“I’m suppose to be No. 1 on everybody list,” James wrote. “We’ll see what happens when I no longer exists.”
It’s a cryptic message and James’ way of saying appreciates his game while he’s still around. The four-time MVP has played 20 seasons in the NBA, winning four titles, breaking the NBA’s all-time scoring record and building up an unrivaled resume.
Even at 38 years old, James continues to operate at a high level. He averaged 24.5 points, 9.9 rebounds and 6.5 assists in the postseason. In Game 4 against the Denver Nuggets, James played every minute, scoring 40 points to go with 10 rebounds and 9 assists.
LeBron James Unlikely to Retire: Report
The idea of James stepping away while he still has more to give seems unlikely and there are doubts that he’s leaning that way.
“He’ll suit up next year,” one Western Conference executive told Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. “He just changed the conversation. Now we’re not talking about a sweep; we’re talking about LeBron and retirement. He loves to control the narrative.”
TNT analyst and Hall of Famer Charles Barkley had a similar sentiment on James stirring up the retirement talk.
“I was disappointed in LeBron. He had to know that these fools on TV were gonna talk about it all the time. I got so frustrated the other day watching television. The first two stories were LeBron retiring, not about how great the Denver Nuggets played. How great [Nikola Jokic] is,” Barkey said during an appearance on the Pat McAfee show. “And hell no, LeBron isn’t gonna retire.”
There’s also the theory that James could be throwing out retirement as a form of leverage against the Lakers. James has been bullish on the idea of adding Kyrie Irving next season, which would require the Lakers to do some major shuffling of their roster.
LeBron James to Likely Have Surgery on Foot in Offseason
James played through a torn tendon in his right foot during the postseason, which will likely sideline him for a few months this offseason, per Shams Charania of The Atheltic.
“I’m told he’s going to be re-evaluating that foot,” Charania said. “It’s very possible he might, he might need surgery on that foot. That could sideline him for two months.”
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