Lakers’ LeBron James to return for 21st NBA season


Dave McMenaminESPN Staff WriterJuly 12, 2023 at 11:31 PM ETRead in 5 minutes

LeBron announces return for 21st season at ESPYS

LeBron James has announced he will not retire from basketball after receiving the Best Record-Breaking Performance award.

There’s still time left in LeBron James’ career.

The Lakers star announced Wednesday night that he will continue playing at the ESPYS in Los Angeles.

After the Lakers swept the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference finals in the playoffs, James openly considered retiring, but the NBA has continued to play for 21 years and beyond, joining Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Garnett and Robert Parrish. He is the sixth player in history to do so. Kevin Willis and Vince Carter with a record of 22.

“I don’t care how many more points I get or what I can or can’t do on the floor,” James said after winning the ESPY Award for Best Record-Breaking Performance by setting Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to the league’s all-time record. ‘ said. Top scorer. “The real question for me is can I play this game without cheating? The day I can’t give my all on the floor is the day I’m done. Lucky for me, that day. is not today.”

James was presented with the award by his wife, Savannah, and was accompanied by his three children, Bronnie, 18, Bryce, 16, and Zuri, 8.

“Welcome to the stage GOAT, respectfully LeBron James,” Savannah said.

James, who turns 39 in December, used the opportunity to reflect on how his kids nurtured his continued passion for basketball.

Bronnie Jr. will be a freshman on the University of Southern California basketball team this fall. Bryce transfers to Campbell Hall High School, where he will play his junior season. James recently coached Bryce’s AAU team, Strive For Greatness, at the Peach Jam Tournament in South Carolina.

“Tonight, I want to use this moment to say something I’ve said a million times. I never get tired of talking about it. I love this game. Basketball.” I love games,” James said. “There’s a video on the internet right now of me coaching Bryce’s team last weekend, and it’s actually pretty funny. ‘LeBron brings energy to high school AAU games just like him. I saw a lot of posts with the topic ‘”The final would be fine. ’ And to me, that is the highest compliment.

“In the 20 years I’ve been playing this game, and the years before that, I’ve never cheated in a game, and I never take it for granted.”

In the presence of former teammates Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on Wednesday night, James shared his dedication to the sport that has brought him into the national spotlight for more than two decades. talked about in detail.

“Every time I step on the floor, whether it’s coaching my boys or playing, I want to give it my all. I’m doing it for myself,” James said. “I have and still do for some of my teammates, and I do for all the great players that have come before me. And more importantly, or most Importantly, I do it for the fans and lovers of the game.

“The real question for me is can I play this game without cheating? The day I can’t give my all on the floor is the end of me,” LeBron James said Wednesday night. After giving his speech, he added: Fortunately, that day is not today. ”Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

“Listen, you can love me – and I know some of you hate me – but the only thing you always do is respect me. And thank you for the way I approach the game and what I have given to it.”

After scoring 40 points and playing the full 48 minutes in the Lakers’ Game 4 loss to the Nuggets, James shared his thoughts when he told ESPN he had to consider “do I want to keep playing?” explained.

“When the season ended, I said I wasn’t sure if I would continue playing,” James said. “And I know a lot of the experts have told you guys what I said, but I’m here speaking for myself right now. In that moment, I cheated the game. Can I still play without it, can I give it my all?” “A game yet? I’ve never talked about it openly.”

James also continued to distance himself from his previous desire to play on the same NBA team as either or both of his sons, saying, “They are on their own basketball journey and no matter how far they choose to go. But they are not,” he said. Cheating the game. And that inspires me. ”

In other words, the king will return.

“You know what I’m reminded of every year? It’s watching and coaching my boys and their teammates,” he said. “When I look at them, it reminds me why I play. They bring me to where I belong, to the pure love of his beautiful game.”

“Yeah, yeah, there’s still something left. There’s a lot left. I love you all and thank you so much for following this journey.”

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