LeBron James joined the long list of Los Angeles Lakers legends after bringing the Larry O’Brien trophy back to L.A. in 2019-20 — helping the franchise win its first NBA championship in a decade.
By the time James’ current contract expires at the end of 2022-23, he will have spent a quarter of his career in Los Angeles. Also, he will have represented the Purple and Gold for a longer spell than he did the Miami Heat in the early 2010s.
Will the current chapter of James’ illustrious career go beyond 2023? Many expected the four-time NBA champion to retire as a Laker. But the 37-year-old has just dropped the biggest hint to date he might play elsewhere before his time in the NBA officially ends.
In an interview with The Athletic’s Jason Lloyd during the All-Star Weekend, James didn’t rule out reuniting with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the future:
“The door’s not closed on that,” James told The Athletic Saturday following the East’s team practice on the campus of Cleveland State. “I’m not saying I’m coming back and playing, I don’t know. I don’t know what my future holds. I don’t even know when I’m free.”
The All-Star Weekend is taking place in Cleveland, the place where James started his NBA career and which is located just 35 minutes south of his hometown, Akron, OH. Perhaps it’s the brief return to his old stomping grounds that sparked the Lakers’ superstar comments, as it definitely did bring back some fond memories from his past.
“I’m extremely happy to be here,” James said. “My high school best friends and the guys that I played with throughout my whole life are out there right now with their families, so just paying it forward to the next generation. I remember in ’97 when the last All-Star Game was here, I think I was 12 years old at that point in time.
“Me and my friends wishing we could come up here to Cleveland and to see the likes of Mike and all those guys that were in that All-Star Weekend … So to be here 25 years later is a remarkable thing. It’s pretty cool.”
James also praised the current Cavaliers squad, which is in contention for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
“I mean, Cleveland is very deserving of this platform and this moment,” he said.
“They got two All-Stars of their own in the game in D.G. (Darius Garland) and the big fella, Jarrett Allen. And they got another guy in the All-Star, and that’s me. It’s great, man. I’m Pushin’ P, capital P, you know? That’s what I’m doing.”
James says he will do ‘whatever it takes’ to play with son Bronny before retirement
James’ desire to share the court with his son, Bronny, is another part of the equation when it comes to determining the forward All-Star’s future. He has made it clear that playing next to Bronny has been on his mind.
Now, James said he will do “whatever it takes” to team up with his son in the future.
Currently, Bronny isn’t eligible to declare for the draft until 2024 due to the NBA’s rules preventing high-school players from entering the league. But it’s been speculated the rules could change by 2023 when James will become a free agent.
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