LeBron James ends retirement speculation and confirms he will return to the court next season – Maxsports
May 20, 2024

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LeBron James ends retirement speculation and confirms he will return to the court next season

LeBron James has ended any speculation linked to retirement by publicly confirming that he will return to the court next season while accepting an ESPY Award at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

The Lakers superstar, 38, came up to the stage to claim the latest of many personal prizes that he’s won throughout his 20-year career and said: ‘I don’t care how many more points I score, what I can and cannot do on the floor.

‘The real question for me is can I play without cheating this game? The day I can’t give the game everything on the floor is the day I’ll be done.

‘Lucky for you guys, that is not today.’ 

‘The King’ was given a roaring round of applause by the crowd, which included two-time Super Bowl champ’ Patrick Mahomes, his wife Brittany and Kansas City Chiefs teammate, Travis Kelce. Former teammate Kyrie Irving was also in attendance.

LeBron James, 38, confirmed he will continue to play for the Lakers, ending retirement rumors

LeBron James, 38, confirmed he will continue to play for the Lakers, ending retirement rumors

James collecting the Best Record-Breaking Performance EPSY award at the Dolby Theatre, LA

James collecting the Best Record-Breaking Performance EPSY award at the Dolby Theatre, LA

James will now return for the Los Angeles Lakers in what will be his 21st NBA season in the fall

James will now return for the Los Angeles Lakers in what will be his 21st NBA season in the fall 

(L-R): James, winner of Best Record-Breaking Performance, Bryce, Savanah, Bronny and Zhuri

(L-R): James, winner of Best Record-Breaking Performance, Bryce, Savanah, Bronny and Zhuri

James, nicknamed 'The King,' broke Kareem Abdul Jabbar's (R) NBA scoring record this year

James, nicknamed ‘The King,’ broke Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s (R) NBA scoring record this year

LeBron was drafted as the No.1 pick of the 2003 NBA Draft that also included Carmelo Anthony

LeBron was drafted as the No.1 pick of the 2003 NBA Draft that also included Carmelo Anthony

James and star teammate Anthony Davis will look to add a fifth NBA title to 'The King's' honors

James and star teammate Anthony Davis will look to add a fifth NBA title to ‘The King’s’ honors

The remainder of the James clan, which includes LeBron’s wife, Savannah, who’s his childhood sweetheart, and their three children, Bronny, a 19-year-old incoming guard at USC, Bryce, and Zuri then came up stage to show their appreciation for the four-time NBA champion and his unquestioned work ethic. 

‘As the ESPYs honor LeBron for breaking the NBA’s all-time scoring record, I decided that I wanted to tell you what I think,’ said Savannah before the crowd laughed. ‘I think LeBron James is the baddest motherf…

‘Mom!’ said Zhuri, the youngest of the James family, as she interrupted her mother’s speech before the crowd erupted in laughter and applause once again. 

‘That’s on me, that’s one me, my bad,’ said Savannah, adding: ‘I think LeBron James is the baddest to set foot on a basketball court. Nobody works harder. Nobody cares more. And Nobody has done more for the game of basketball than LeBron James.’

At the end of last season, in which he surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s NBA scoring record (38,387 points), James had said he wasn’t sure if he would be back to play in now what will be his 21st season in the league.

James (R) with long-time NBA pals, from L-R, Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade and Chris Paul

James (R) with long-time NBA pals, from L-R, Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade and Chris Paul

James (in round-shaped shades) with Super Bowl winners Travis Kelce (C) & Patrick Mahomes

James (in round-shaped shades) with Super Bowl winners Travis Kelce (C) & Patrick Mahomes

James has two-years & $97million left on his Lakers deal, with a player option for his third year

James has two-years & $97million left on his Lakers deal, with a player option for his third year

James debated if he should continue playing during the offseason (seen in France in June)

James debated if he should continue playing during the offseason (seen in France in June)

LeBron (left) and his teammates were swept by the Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals

LeBron (left) and his teammates were swept by the Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals

James admitted that he'd like to play in NBA until Bronny makes it, predicting it'll happen in '24

James admitted that he’d like to play in NBA until Bronny makes it, predicting it’ll happen in ’24

‘We’ll see, we’ll see what happens going forward,’ James said in May. ‘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.’

His latest comments on Wednesday night come just hours after his agent Rich Paul said that he could see his client – a four-time league MVP – play into his mid-40s. 

‘Five or six more years? Listen, he’s one guy that I’m not gonna say no about,’ Paul said during an appearance on SiriusXM NBA Radio with Frank Isola and Sarah Kustok. ‘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 his health, absolutely!’ 

James’ Lakers were swept by the eventual NBA champs’, the Denver Nuggets, in the Western Conference Finals, but the basketball superstar has two years and $97million left on his current deal, with the final year being a player option.

What’s more is that the forward, who was first overall pick of the 2003 NBA Draft, has stated his desire to play with his eldest son, Bronny, who, himself, is tipped to be a mid-first-round pick in the 2024 NBA draft.

But, for now, James will be eyeing another Larry O’Brien trophy – his fifth- to add to his long list of honors, which would put him on par with Kobe Bryant and one behind Michael Jordan.