Lakers Star LeBron James Reveals Plan for Retirement

Getty LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers.

LeBron James is showing no signs of slowing down in Year 19 but the Los Angeles Lakers star made no secret that retirement is something he’s contemplated of late.

James spoke on the idea of calling it quits following the Lakers’ win against the Rockets on Tuesday night, giving a vague, yet insightful timeline of when he might decide to hang it up.

“I know I’m on the other side of the hill, compared to the hill I was on before. I know that. But, I mean, I’ve thought about it — where I’m at with it. I’m still playing at such a high level, I haven’t given it too much thought,” James told reporters. “But I’m in Year 19 and I’m not gonna do another 19. So I’m definitely not halfway in my career. I’m on the other side of the hill. So, we’ll see where the game takes me. We’ll see where my body takes me and my mind. As long as my mind stays fresh and my body stays with that, I can play the game. But, in the end, the game will tell you. Your body will tell you. Your mind will tell you. I’ve put in enough hours and punched enough clocks where, when that time comes, I’ll be OK with it.”

James scored 30 or more points in his fifth-straight game on Tuesday and if his Lakers were doing a bit better he’d likely be a firm component of the MVP conversation. Overall, James is averaging 27.6 points, 7 rebounds and 6.7 assists this season, logging more than 37 minutes per game.

James Has Said he Want to Retire a Laker

There’s much speculation about what the future holds for James, who could choose to try to play with his son once his contract is up following next season, or look to chase a championship on another squad. However, James has been fairly clear that he plans to retire as a member of the Lakers.

“I truly hope that I can finish my career with the Lakers. However many years that is, if it’s four, five, six, whatever, seven, I hope I can continue to play the game,” James said on the SmartLess podcast this offseason. “I love being in L.A., my family loves being in L.A. Being with a historical franchise like the Lakers is something. It’s like me being in Space Jam — I never thought it would be possible. You think about Kareem and Magic and Wilt and Jerry West and Elgin Baylor, Kobe, Shaq and all of them, the whole list goes on.”

James has earned his spot among the greats, helping the Lakers to a title in 2020. However, the team is hoping James can do it once more with the core of future Hall of Famers that’s been assembled, including Davis and Russell Westbrook.

LeBron James Makes Shift to Center

James did something he hadn’t done previously in his career on Tuesday night — start at center. It worked out swimmingly, with James notching a triple-double of 32 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists.

“I think I’ve taken pride over the course of my career in being able to play five positions,” James told reporters after the game. “Or at least know all five positions. Knowing the commands. So tonight … called for me to start at center and I just tried to be in a hell of a lot of plays.”

David Fizdale is filling in as the Lakers head coach with Frank Vogel out and gushed about James’ ability to do everything on the basketball court.

“I just told the team … ‘I don’t think you guys realize what this guy just did,'” Fizdale said. “‘He just played the 5 for four quarters and dominated at the position and played it while playing point guard, while playing [forward], he just… Ah, my gosh, this guy is unbelievable.

“I can’t help it, man. We all are, we’re very lucky as basketball people to get to watch what we’re watching right now out of this man and it’s just beautiful.”

The Lakers will try to make it two in a row when they take on Memphis on Wednesday.


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