LeBron James shouldn’t be thinking about retirement.
True, he turns 37 on Thursday and has played more minutes (regular season and playoff combined) than anyone in NBA history other than Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (and he will pass Malone this season). But have you seen him play? He is playing at an All-NBA level again this season, and maybe MVP-ballot level of late, carrying an otherwise unimpressive Lakers roster?
LeBron last 5 games:
He turns 37 in two days. pic.twitter.com/fbRTnBMAFf
— StatMuse (@statmuse) December 29, 2021
With his birthday approaching, is LeBron thinking about retirement? Not really. He was asked about it this week and said he knows its coming, but it’s not on the front burner, via Michael Corvo of Clutch Points:
“I know I’m on the other side of the hill, compared to the hill I was on before. I know that. But, I mean, I’ve thought about it — where I’m at with it. I’m still playing at such a high level, I haven’t given it too much thought. But I’m in Year 19 and I’m not gonna do another 19. So I’m definitely not halfway in my career. I’m on the other side of the hill. So, we’ll see where the game takes me. We’ll see where my body takes me and my mind. As long as my mind stays fresh and my body stays with that, I can play the game. But, in the end, the game will tell you. Your body will tell you. Your mind will tell you. I’ve put in enough hours and punched enough clocks where, when that time comes, I’ll be OK with it.”
LeBron has said in the past he likes the idea of being in the league when his eldest son, Bronny, is eligible, which would be the season he turns 40. His current contract runs for two seasons after this one but would need to be extended to include that age 40 season. Something the Lakers would do without hesitation (forget the on-the-court stuff, LeBron fills the building, brings in sponsors, and drives television viewership, what they pay him is a fraction of what he generates for the club).
Someday LeBron will retire. Before then, we all need to step back and savor what we are privileged to watch — a GOAT-level player. Enjoy it. There will never be another like him.