LeBron James isn’t going anywhere, at least not yet.
While on stage at the 2023 ESPY Awards in Los Angeles, James confirmed he will play this upcoming season after he mulled retirement after the end of the NBA playoffs.
The Lakers’ star forward announced his decision while accepting the ESPY for Best Record-Breaking Performance after becoming the NBA’s all-time leading scorer this year.
“I don’t care how many more points I score, or what I can or cannot do on the floor,” James said at the awards show. “The real question for me is: Can I play without cheating this game? The day I can’t give everything on the floor is the day I’ll be done.
“Lucky for you guys, that day is not today.”
After the Lakers were swept out of the Western Conference finals by the eventual NBA champion Denver Nuggets, the 38-year-old was not 100 percent certain about returning to the league for a 21st season.
“We’ll see, we’ll see what happens going forward,” James said after the Lakers’ loss. “I don’t know. I don’t know. I’ve got a lot to think about, to be honest. I’ve got a lot to think about, to be honest. Just for me, going forward with the game of basketball, I’ve got a lot to think about. Appreciate it.”
In an interview on Tuesday, agent Rich Paul said in an interview with SiriusXM that James could play into his mid-40s as Tom Brady did in the NFL.
“Five or six more years? Listen, he’s one guy that I’m not gonna say no about,” Paul said when asked by Frank Isola if James could play until age 44 or 45. “I think it’s important to understand what really motivates him. I know it.
“Obviously, I have been around … As long as his mind is there, as long as he’s still excited about playing the game, in addition to the health, absolutely [he can].”
The 19-time All-Star still had plenty to offer to the Lakers last season, averaging nearly a double-double with 28.9 points and 8.3 rebounds per game over 55 contests in 2022-23.
James also has stated his intentions to potentially play in the NBA with his son, Bronny, who committed to play college ball at USC for this upcoming season.
The younger James has been projected to be a mid-first-round pick in 2024.
“I was serious, and I’m still serious about it,” James said in May about playing in the NBA with his son. “Just because it’s my aspiration, it doesn’t mean it’s his. It’s not what you want. It’s about listening to your kids and what they want.”