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LeBron James Hints at NBA Retirement After ‘Disappointing’ Lakers Loss: There’s ‘A Lot to Think About’

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LeBron James. Image Press Agency/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

Taking a beat. LeBron James is unsure of his future in the NBA after the Los Angeles Lakers were swept by the Denver Nuggets during the 2023 playoffs.

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“I haven’t begun to even think about next year,” James, 38, confessed during a press conference on Monday, May 22, after the Lakers lost in the 2023 West Conference Finals. “We had a great run, but we fell short of our goal and our goal is to win championships. That’s what this franchise is about, so that’s disappointing.”

The Ohio native, who has been playing in the NBA for 20 years, explained that this season was “very challenging” despite his personal achievements. (James made NBA history in February when he surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most regular season points scored by any athlete. At the time, his scoring total was 38,388.)

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“I don’t like to say it was a successful year because I don’t play for anything besides winning championships at this point in my career,” the former Miami Heat player told reporters after Monday’s game. “I don’t get a kick out of making a conference appearance. I’ve done it a lot. It’s not fun to me to not be able to get to the finals.”

The Olympian teased: “We’ll see what happens going forward, but I don’t know. I’ve got a lot to think about to be honest. Just personally, with me moving forward with the game of basketball, I got a lot to think about.”

James told ESPN later that evening that he was referring to thinking about “if I want to continue to play” next year.

When asked whether he “would walk away” from the league, the professional basketball player said, “I got to think about it.”

The four-time NBA champion’s surprising revelation came after James scored 40 points for the Lakers during the team’s Game 4 loss to the Nuggets. The California-based team lost four games in a row to the Colorado athletes leading to their elimination.

The Nuggets will now represent the West in the 2023 NBA Finals against the winner of the East Conference Finals. (The Boston Celtics will play Game 4 against the Miami Heat on Tuesday, May 23, at 8:30 p.m. ET. The Celtics are currently down three games in the series.)

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James, for his part, has been a fixture in the sport since 2003 when he was drafted as the No. 1 player for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He then joined the Miami Heat in 2010 before returning to the Cavaliers in 2014.

The Ladder cofounder — who has been dubbed the G.O.A.T. by some fans — moved to the Lakers in 2018. Four years later, James signed a two-year contract for $97.1 million.

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Aaron Josefczyk/UPI/Shutterstock

While the four-time NBA Finals MVP’s future in basketball is up in the air, his eldest son’s career is just taking off. Bronny James committed to the University of Southern California in May to play for the Division 1 NCAA team.

“I’m proud of him. This is an incredible thing,” LeBron said in a post-game press conference at the time of his son’s choice in college. “Unless it was one of my great-grandmothers or great-grandfathers or someone way before my time, to my knowledge this is the first one out of the James Gang to go to college.”

The LRMR Ventures creator shares Bronny, 18, as well as son Bryce, 15, and daughter Zhuri, 8, with wife Savannah James, whom he wed in September 2013.

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