LeBron James’ Defiance of Father Time Has Him Brushing Off Retirement Talk

As LeBron James moves through the latter chapter of his illustrious career, his play continues to age like fine wine. The Los Angeles Lakers star forward has shown no regression in his game, performing at an elite level in his 19th campaign. Retirement talk has understandably remained in the background, given how far he’s ventured into his career. However, James quickly halted any that discussion due to an obvious reason.

LeBron James’ stellar outing leads Lakers past the Rockets

On Tuesday night, the Lakers snapped their five-game losing streak by moving past the Houston Rockets.

In James’ first career start at center, he led the charge with a triple-double effort, posting 32 points, 11 assists, and 11 rebounds. The 36-year-old paced his team behind his steady play while Russell Westbrook notched his seventh triple-double of the season.

James’ outing marked his fifth straight 30-point performance, making him the first layer age 36 or older to accomplish that feat. Meanwhile, he leads the league with 13 such outings despite playing in only 23 games, including reaching that scoring mark in 11 out of his last 15 contests.

He’s also the first Lakers’ player since Kobe Bryant to tally five straight 30-point performances. After the last remarkable feat, James touched on retirement talk.

LeBron James’ defiance of Father Time has him brushing off retirement talk

As James treks through his 19th season, it’s hard to ignore the hovering cloud of retirement.

The 17-time All-Star is among an exclusive list of players to extend their playing days that far along. However, no player has continued to play at the top of their game this far into their respective career.

After posting his 102nd career triple-double in Tuesday’s road win over the Rockets, James acknowledged that he’s on the backend of his career. Still, his sustained excellence hasn’t led him to give retirement any significant consideration.

“I know I’m on the other side of the hill, compared to the hill I was on before. I know that,” James said via CBS Sports. “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.”

James has experienced struggles with injuries, highlighted by missing eight straight games due to an abdominal strain. Although the star forward is still receiving injury report designation regarding that ailment, his play certainly suggests it doesn’t bother him to a notable extent.

The only thing that may so James down is his health, but even then, his strict commitment to his body and diet is well-documented as he’s reportedly spending around $1 million a year. Father Time catches up to everyone, but the future first-ballot Hall of Famer might just be the exception.

LeBron James wants to finish his career with the Lakers

James is proving to be an ageless wonder as he nears two decades spent on the NBA hardwood.

With the thought of retirement in the back of his mind, it begs the question of where he spends the rest of his playing days. James is under contract through the 2022-23 campaign, placing him in free agency ahead of what would be his 21st season.

The four-time NBA champion has repeatedly voiced the desire to play alongside his son, Bronny James, who could potentially make the jump to the NBA in the summer of 2023. That alone has generated talk that he would attempt to team up with Bronny, becoming the first father and son to play in the league together.

At the same time, he has voiced that he wants to play the rest of his career with the Lakers.

“I truly hope that I can finish my career with the Lakers,” James said via CBS Sports. “However many years that is, if it’s four, five, six, whatever, seven. I hope I can continue to play the game. 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.”

A lot can certainly change over the next few years, but it’s clear that James has no plans of stepping away any time soon.

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