By Thomas Schlachter and Homero De la Fuente, CNN
Updated 8:30 AM EDT, Tue May 23, 2023
LeBron James is considering his basketball future after the Lakers were swept by the Nuggets.
After 20 incredible years in the NBA, LeBron James has added to speculation that he could finally be hanging up his sneakers for good.
This comes after the Los Angeles Lakers were swept out of the Western Conference Finals by Nikola Jokić and the Denver Nuggets following a disappointing 113-111 Game 4 loss.
“We’ll see what happens going forward. I don’t know,” the NBA’s all-time leading scorer said to reporters post-game. “I’ve got a lot to think about to be honest.
“Just for me, personally, going forward with the game of basketball, I’ve got a lot to think about.”
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin said he followed up with James following the press conference to further elaborate on his comments adding that retirement is under consideration.
“When you say you got to think about stuff, what thread should we be pulling on that?” McMenamin said he asked to which James replied, “If I want to continue to play.”
James later added that he’d have to think about it when pushed further about walking away next year, according to McMenamin. The Lakers star has one year left in his contract with the team after signing a two-year contract extension prior to the season.
CNN has reached out to James’ representative but did not immediately hear back.
Despite James' best efforts, the Lakers lost 113-111 against the Nuggets.
In the win-or-go-home game, LeBron and Co. were looking to make history by overcoming a 3-0 series deficit to advance to the NBA Finals.
Mission impossible almost got off to the perfect start, but the Nuggets came up strong in the clutch and thwarted James’ efforts to send the game to overtime.
Marked by Nuggets wing Aaron Gordon, ‘King James’ missed two opportunities to save the game. The first a tough shot way off the mark, bouncing off the side of the glass. Then with the season truly on the line, Gordon blocked a James floater with 1.1 left on the clock.
Monday’s reversal on considering retirement comes as a surprise after the four-time champion previously said he’d like to play his final NBA season alongside his son Bronny James in an interview with The Athletic in 2022.
“My last year will be played with my son,” James said. “Wherever Bronny is at, that’s where I’ll be. I would do whatever it takes to play with my son for one year. It’s not about the money at that point.”
LeBron James does his chalk toss ritual before a game in 2008. Basketball players use chalk to help them grip the ball better.
James was born in Akron, Ohio, on December 30, 1984. He is 6 months old, he said, in this photo he posted to Instagram for his 35th birthday.
A young James plays on a toy basketball hoop at Christmas time. "I guess I was kinda born to do this," he said on Instagram.
James, left, poses with some of his teammates at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School during his freshman year.
James throws down a dunk during a game in Trenton, New Jersey, in February 2003. James was just a junior in high school when he appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated as "The Chosen One." He was such a star that ESPN aired some of his high school games.
James shakes hands with NBA star Michael Jordan after Jordan played a game in Cleveland in April 2003. James chose the number 23 because of Jordan.
As expected, James went straight from high school to the NBA as the No. 1 overall pick in the league draft. He was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers, a long-suffering franchise close to his hometown of Akron.
James goes up for a layup during his NBA debut on October 29, 2003. He scored 25 points in a loss at Sacramento. In his first season in the NBA, James won the league's Rookie of the Year Award.
James played on the US Olympic basketball team in August 2004, but it ended with a disappointing bronze medal. He would be back.
James, center, goes up for a rebound with Tim Duncan during the 2006 NBA All-Star Game. He was named the game's most valuable player — the youngest to ever receive the award.
James sits with his young son, Bronny, and teammate Drew Gooden during a game in Cleveland in March 2007.
James misses a potential game-tying 3-pointer in Game 3 of the 2007 NBA Finals. James' Cavaliers were swept by the San Antonio Spurs.
James hosts the ESPY Awards in July 2007. This played off his "King James" nickname.
James appears on stage with rapper Jay-Z during a Cleveland concert for presidential candidate Barack Obama in October 2008.
James, seen here between Dwyane Wade and head coach Mike Krzyzewski, returned to the Olympics in August 2008 as part of the "Redeem Team" that went on to win gold.
James celebrates after hitting a game-winning shot to win a playoff game against Orlando in May 2009.
James won his first league MVP award in May 2009. He would also win the award in 2010, 2012 and 2013.
James gets a kiss from his mother after a playoff game in May 2010.
In July 2010, James speaks with ESPN's Jim Gray at the Boys & Girls Club in Greenwich, Connecticut. It was there that he announced, live on an ESPN program called "The Decision," that he would be leaving Cleveland to play for the Miami Heat. "I'm going to take my talents to South Beach," said James, who was a free agent. The show raised millions of dollars for the Boys & Girls Club, but James' decision to leave Cleveland — and announce it live on national television — was criticized by many.
James greets Miami fans during a pep rally at the American Airlines Arena in July 2010. He was joined by Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, the other two stars in the Heat's "Big 3" superteam. During the event, James boasted about how many titles they would win together.
Wade reacts as James dunks the ball during a game in Milwaukee in December 2010. They made the NBA Finals in their first season together but lost to Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks.
James reads in the locker room before an NBA Finals game in June 2012. The Heat were back in the Finals, this time facing the Oklahoma City Thunder.
James dunks over Serge Ibaka during Game 2 of the Finals in June 2012. The Heat went on to win in five games, giving James his first NBA title.
James celebrates with teammates after the Heat won the 2012 NBA Finals. James is holding the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy, right, and the Bill Russell Finals MVP Award.
James was part of the 2012 Olympic team that successfully defended its gold medal in London.
James describes his excitement as the Heat visit the White House in January 2013: "We're in the White House right now, which is like 'Mama, I made it.'"
James and the Heat defended their title in the 2013 NBA Finals, defeating San Antonio in seven games. James was once again Finals MVP.
James and Savannah Brinson attend the 2013 ESPY Awards in July 2013. The two married in September of that year. They have three children together: Bronny, Bryce and Zhuri.
James appears on a Nike poster outside Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena in October 2014, a few months after he announced that he would be returning to the Cavaliers as a free agent.
James poses with his new "Big 3" in Cleveland: Kevin Love, left, and Kyrie Irving.
James appears as himself in the 2015 comedic film "Trainwreck" starring Bill Hader, right, and Amy Schumer.
James, seen here in March 2015, was determined to bring Cleveland its first championship in franchise history. "I'm ready to accept the challenge," he said when he revealed his plans to return to the Cavaliers. "I"m coming home." The Cavs made the NBA Finals in his first season back, but they fell short to the Golden State Warriors.
James runs down Golden State's Andre Iguodala on a play in the 2016 NBA Finals that became known simply as "The Block." The defensive play, late in Game 7, helped lift the Cavaliers past the Warriors in what was a rematch from the year before.
An emotional James hugs Love after Cleveland defeated Golden State to win the title in 2016.
James tries to direct teammate J.R. Smith on a last-second play in the 2018 NBA Finals. The Cavaliers and the Warriors played in four straight NBA Finals, from 2015 to 2018. The Warriors won three of the four.
James addresses a crowd at the grand opening of his "I Promise" school in Akron in July 2018. James' foundation teamed with the Akron Public Schools system to open a school supporting at-risk children.
James signed a free agent deal with the Los Angeles Lakers in July 2018. Here, he drives to the basket during a home game against Washington in November 2019.
James and the Lakers won a title together in 2020, when the entire playoffs were held in Florida because of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was James' fourth NBA title.
James appears with Tweety Bird in the film "Space Jam: A New Legacy" in 2021.
James poses with his two sons — Bronny, left, and Bryce — at his former high school in Akron in July 2022. Bronny is one of the best high school players in the country, and his dad said he wants to finish his career by playing with him in the NBA.
James breaks Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's all-time scoring record of 38,387 points during a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on February 7, 2023.
In pictures: NBA great LeBron James
Despite the loss and his postgame comments, James’ Game 4 performance showed the 20-year veteran could easily continue his stellar career, to play with Bronny, if he so wished.
LeBron played all 48 minutes, scored 40 points on 15-of-25 shooting, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out nine assists, as the 38-year-old left it all on the floor in an all-encompassing performance.
Yet, as so often in his long career, LeBron’s individual brilliance wasn’t enough and the Nuggets were able to advance to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history without dropping a game in the series.
Jokić had another standout series for Denver, and the two-time regular season MVP was awarded the Magic Johnson Western Conference Finals MVP trophy.
Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokić won the series MVP trophy.
In Game 4, the ‘Joker’ was at his all-around best, with 30 points, 14 boards and 13 assists. The latest in a long line of triple-doubles also meant that Jokić broke Wilt Chamberlain’s 1967 record of the most triple-doubles in a playoff run – the Serbian star adding his eighth of the postseason.
“I think he’s showing other people nationally that he’s real. Like what he’s doing is real. The MVPs are real. The triple-doubles are real,” said Nuggets head coach Michael Malone on his star player. “The guy is a great player; give him his damn respect. Stop chopping him down at the knees. He’s a great player and give him the respect he deserves.”
The Nuggets can now look forward to the NBA Finals as they wait to see who wins between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Is LeBron James going to retire? ›
The answer is, no he won't retire. But LeBron did keep the media from talking about him getting swept, which was probably his top priority.How many years until LeBron retires? ›
LeBron James ended the post-game press conference with a cliffhanger. On top of that, it was reported that the player considers retirement as an option before the 2023-24 season.How many seasons has LeBron played? ›
LeBron Raymone James Sr. (/ləˈbrɒn/ lə-BRON; born December 30, 1984) is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers in the National Basketball Association (NBA).How many years in a row has LeBron been to the finals? ›
How many NBA Finals has LeBron been to in a row? LeBron has been to 8 straight NBA Finals (2011-2018). He made the first four trips with the Miami Heat (2011-2014) and the last four with the Cleveland Cavaliers (2015-2018).What was LeBron's PPG last year? ›
Last year, James averaged 30.3 ppg throughout the regular season over the course of 56 games. That is a total of 1,695 points.When did LeBron Prime end? ›
LeBron James' prime was a period of time from the 2004-05 season through the 2017-18 season, during which he was widely considered to be the best player in the NBA. During this time, he won four MVP awards, three NBA championships, and was an All-Star every season.Who has better stats Michael Jordan or LeBron James? ›
LeBron James is the NBA's all-time scoring leader. Does that finally tip the balance to him from Michael Jordan as the sport's GOAT? With each passing game, LeBron James, the newly crowned all-time scoring champion, puts more distance between himself and all those enshrined in basketball's hall of fame.What NBA player has the longest career? ›
Vince Carter, the most seasons of them all
The person who has had the longest career in the NBA is Vince Carter, who played for 22 seasons. The eight-time All-Star first played with the Toronto Raptors in 1998, and was named the 1999 NBA Rookie of the Year.
Which team has LeBron scored the most points on? ›
- Dallas Mavericks: 1,058 points in 39 games.
- Golden State Warriors: 1,024 points in 37 games.
- Sacramento Kings: 1,017 points in 38 games.
- Los Angeles Clippers: 1,009 points in 41 games.
StatMuse on Twitter: "LeBron career missed games First 15 seasons: 71 Last 5 seasons: 98 https://t.co/NAUJoOHY4A" / Twitter.Why is LeBron better than MJ? ›
Jordan is also recognised as the better defender, averaging more steals and making the all-defense team three more times and playing more minutes per game. However, James averages more assists and rebounds than Jordan - which some state makes James the better overall player.Who has the most straight Finals appearances? ›
The Boston Celtics hold the longest consecutive NBA Finals appearance streak with ten appearances between 1957 and 1966. During the streak, the Celtics won eight consecutive NBA championships—also an NBA record.Who won the most NBA championships? ›
Take a look back at the memorable moment from March 3, 2014 — in a game between the Miami Heat and Charlotte Bobcats.Who has the highest ppg in NBA right now? ›
- Devin BookerPHX. 33.7.
- Anthony EdwardsMIN. 31.6.
- Stephen CurryGSW. 30.5.
- Nikola JokicDEN. 29.9.
The 2011-12 campaign was James' best full season to date. He won the MVP award for a third time.Could LeBron play in Jordan's era? ›
Playing in the '90s, James would have been the sole Magic Johnson of his era. Imagine him dishing out career highs in assists, perhaps even averaging a double-double during such a time. I definitely believe he would have attempted to challenge Jordan for scoring titles, but no one would be able to score like Jordan.
Who averages more Kobe or LeBron? ›
While Bryant's 27.4 points per game outguns James' 26.9, the latter has averaged more points a night (27.6) than Kobe (25.5) on his career.Who is a better player LeBron or Curry? ›
James has been named to an All-NBA team in each year outside of his rookie campaign. James also has the advantage in the MVP category — his four league MVPs outmatch Curry's two and in the Finals, James has won MVP honors in each of his wins while Curry has won Finals MVP just once.What's the longest an NBA team has gone without losing? ›
The Los Angeles Lakers own the longest winning streak in NBA history. They won 33 straight games in the 1971–72 season, compiling a season-best 69–13 record and went on to win the NBA Finals.Who will be the best NBA players in 10 years? ›
- Luka Doncic (1st in projections, 2nd in vote)
- Giannis Antetokounmpo (3rd in projections, 1st in vote)
- Nikola Jokic (2nd in projections, tied for 3rd in vote)
- Jayson Tatum (5th in projections, 5th in vote)
George Blanda is the oldest player to play in NFL history. Blanda was a quarterback and placekicker who played in the NFL for 26 seasons. He retired in 1975 at the age of 48.Who committed the most fouls in NBA history? ›
Ex-NBA player Tyrell Terry retires from basketball at just age 22 revealing he has suffered with anxiety and experienced the 'darkest times of his life' while playing professionally.Is LeBron the best all around player? ›
There's Never Been a Better All-Around NBA Superstar Than LeBron James. More than any superstar we've ever seen, James has illustrated his greatness by shape-shifting the scope of not only his scoring, but his game as a whole. LeBron James broke the NBA's all-time record for scoring on Tuesday night.Can LeBron pass Kareem? ›
LeBron James becomes the all-time leading scorer by passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Can LeBron be all-time assist leader? ›
According to HoopsHype, if James averaged a slightly more realistic six assists while playing 70 games a year, he wouldn't reach the record until 2036, when he's 51. Even catching Kidd, whose 12,091 assists are 1,753 ahead of James, is unlikely.How close is LeBron to passing Kareem? ›
Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the No. 1 spot on the NBA's all-time regular-season scoring list (38,387 points) on Tuesday, February 7, 2023.How many 70 point games in NBA history? ›
This feat has been accomplished 82 times in NBA history. 34 players have scored 60 or more points in a game, while just eight players have joined the 70-point club.What record did LeBron just break? ›
LeBron James breaks NBA scoring record with his 38,388th point, surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. James eclipsed the L.A. Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks Hall of Fame center, who held the record for nearly 39 years.What if LeBron never lost in the finals? ›
Winning 10 titles would put him next to Boston Celtics greats Bill Russell, who has 11, and Sam Jones, who has 10, as the players with the most number of championships. To some, that would cement his status as the game's greatest player, especially considering the talent of the teams he faced in the Finals.How many games did Michael Jordan miss due to injury? ›
Best unrestricted free agents in 2023 NBA offseason
From 1984-85 to 1997-98, Jordan scored 29,277 points, which was 24.23% of the Bulls' 120,818 points. And that's despite Jordan missing over a season and a half to play baseball (and despite missing 64 games with a foot injury in 1985-86). [SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]
LeBron James has played 74 games with 40+ points.How long has LeBron been playing in the NBA? ›
LeBron James was drafted first overall in the 2003 NBA Draft right out of St. Vincent-St. Mary high school in Akron, OH. That means, as he's in the 2023 postseason with the Lakers, he's in the midst of his 20th NBA season.How many more seasons did LeBron play than MJ? ›
|706-366 (.659)||Record||716-356 (.668)|
|32,292 (4th)||Career points||29,105 (7th)|
He played fifteen seasons in the NBA, winning six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls. Jordan is the principal owner and chairman of the Charlotte Hornets of the NBA and of 23XI Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series.
How many seasons did LeBron and Cavs have? ›
Through 11 seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers, four seasons with the Miami Heat and now five seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron has faced it all.How much money is Stephen Curry worth? ›
Stephen Curry's net worth in 2023 is $160 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. According to Forbes' 2022 list, Stephen Curry came in at No. 5 on the list of highest-paid athletes in the world, earning $92.8 million. $45.8 million of that is his salary, with $47 million coming in off-court earnings.Where is LeBron going? ›
Lebron is a slightly better physical specimen than Jordan. Jordan jumps slightly higher, runs slightly faster, can hang in the air a bit longer, but Lebron had a few inches over MJ and is a lot heavier than MJ, so I will say Lebron is the better physical specimen.Who is more clutch Jordan or LeBron? ›
LeBron James is More Clutch Than Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Stephen Curry According to FS1 Analyst. A parameter that separates a good sportsperson from a great sportsperson is his ability to perform under pressure. In the basketball world, it's usually referred to as the 'Clutch' moment.What was MJ most losses in a season? ›
Michael Jordan lost his most games in a season in 2002-03, with 45 losses.How old is Michael Jordan's new wife? ›
How old is Michael Jordan's wife, Yvette Prieto? Prieto is 42 years old. She was born March 26, 1979. There is a 15-year age difference between the couple.What year was MJ at his best? ›
In the 1995–96 season Jordan led the Bulls to a 72–10 regular season record, the best in the history of the NBA (broken in 2015–16 by the Golden State Warriors). From 1996 to 1998 the Jordan-led Bulls again won three championships in a row, and each time Jordan was named MVP of the NBA finals.
Has LeBron ever played 82 games? ›
LeBron James played all 82 games for the first time in his career. At the same time he became the oldest player ever to lead the NBA in total minutes played! No signs of slowing down. Gilson Carlos and 7,232 others like this.How many games has LeBron missed in his whole career? ›
StatMuse on Twitter: "LeBron career missed games First 15 seasons: 71 Last 5 seasons: 98 https://t.co/NAUJoOHY4A" / Twitter.What is the Cavs all time record without LeBron James? ›
The Cleveland Cavaliers have a 266-482 record without LeBron James all-time.