Despite dealing with nagging injuries, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is proving he remains an ageless wonder. James is moving through his 19th campaign, placing his long-term NBA future more prominently into the picture. His close friend and former Miami Heat teammate Dwyane Wade delivered a strong supportive message.
LeBron James extends his career into his 19th season
James entered his 19th campaign hoping to move past the injury struggles that plagued him last year.
Instead, it’s been difficult for him to stay on the floor, as he’s missed nine games. He first missed two contests due to a sore right leg and has sat out the last seven consecutive games due to an abdominal strain.
When healthy, he’s performed at an elite level, averaging 24.8 points, 7.0 assists, and 5.5 rebounds on 46.7% shooting from the floor in six appearances. James’ journey through this chapter of his career has his close friend Dwyane Wade pushing him to extend it as long as he can.
Dwyane Wade’s 3-word message to LeBron James could be exactly what the King needs for extra motivation
As James moves through his 19th season, the focus remains on his NBA future.
His former Miami Heat teammate and close friend Dwayne Wade recently voiced to The Athletics’ Shams Charania that he wants the four-time NBA champion to play as long as he can.
“We haven’t seen this,” Wade said. “I think we are all now on the train of ‘Keep going, bro.’ It’s at the point of doing something that has never been done before. When I retired, I told LeBron ‘you’re going to forget we even played together.”
Wade may be on the retirement side of the spectrum, but he can see that James holds the unique opportunity to play as long as he wants. The 36-year-old will dictate his NBA future that holds a chance to accomplish feats that no player before him has reached.
How much longer will LeBron James play?
As James inches closer to two decades in the league, it pushes the retirement question more prominently into the picture.
The 17-time All-Star hasn’t shied away from the discussion but more so brushed off any notion he will step away time soon. During an appearance on the “Smartless” podcast in July, James voiced that he could play several more years, preferably the rest of his career donning a Lakers uniform.
“I truly hope that I can finish my career with the Lakers,” James said via ClutchPoints. “However many years that is, if it’s four, five, six, whatever, seven, I hope I can continue to play the game,” James said. “I love being in L.A., my family loves being in L.A. Being with a historical franchise like the Lakers is something… It’s like me being in “Space Jam” — I never thought it would be possible. You think about Kareem, and Magic, and Wilt, and Jerry West and Elgin Baylor, Kobe, Shaq and all of them, the whole list goes on.”
James holds no desire to retire from the game that he has spent half his life playing in the NBA. He has an unwavering commitment that will serve as the driving factor in determining how much longer he plays.
James signed with the Lakers through the 2022-23 season, marking his 20th campaign, but beyond that, his future is an open book. As he draws closer to the end of his contract, the picture will become clearer with what he plans to do next.