NBA: LeBron James to Contemplate his Future, Retirement

Edgar Chaput | Updated May 23, 2023

NBA: Playoffs-Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles Lakers

As of May 23, LeBron James isn’t retiring, but his post-game press conference after getting swept by the Nuggets in Game 4 was intriguing, to say the least.

It’s been a long, arduous campaign for the Los Angeles Lakers and its undisputed leader LeBron James. It came to a sudden end on Monday night with a 113-111 Game 4 defeat to the Denver Nuggets. Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets made their own history by earning the franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals appearance.

While that is obviously the highlight of the night, King James’ talk with the media afterwards got quite interesting.

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LeBron James Alludes to Retirement

Post-game media sessions in the minutes after a season ends in defeat can’t be easy. It must take a special kind of energy and dedication to face the music, as the expression goes. Not only will fans, pundits and the media examine in minute detail why a team lost, but players are required to start answering questions about what went wrong on the same night of their elimination from contention.

LeBron James, 20 years in the league and winner of four championships, has been here before. 2022-2023 was especially topsy-turvy, with the club looking mediocre by New Year’s yet making the right trades and finding a rhythm, earning the Western Conference’s seventh seed. They followed that by eliminating the Memphis Grizzlies and defending champion Golden State Warriors in six games to reach the Western Conference Finals where the Denver Nuggets were too much.

After getting into the details of Game 4 – what he and the team could have done better – James opened up about where his mindset is regarding his future in the NBA. He alluded to retirement in such a way that suggested it is a real possibility in the very near future.

“Going forward with the game of basketball, I’ve got a lot to think about.”

Hello. That’s different.

When ESPN asked for clarifications, James went a bit further.

“If I want to continue to play.”

When pressed further by the ESPN reporter, he admitted this meant possibly retiring this offseason, then reiterated that he has a lot to think about.

James Would Go Out on a High

 If LeBron James, and it’s still a big “if”, does, in fact, make that decision in the weeks or months to come, he’ll have gone out like the warrior he’s always been.

With his team’s back against the wall, James scored 40 points and played 47 minutes and 56 seconds of Game 4. He performed majestically in the first half, scoring 31 points off 11-for-13 shooting. He hit threes, fadeaways, jumpers, and layups. It looked like no Nugget could stop him. But as they had done three times already, Denver had far too many versatile weapons in its arsenal (Jamal Murray and Aaron Gordon to name just two) and eventually climbed their way to a 113-111 win to sweep L.A. 4-0.

Several NBA fans anticipate a possible future in which LeBron plays on the same team as his son Bronny James, but there is an abundance of factors to consider, such as when the younger James gets drafted, by whom, and if his father will still be in the league.