LeBron James ponders on his retirement: ‘I’m still better than 90 percent of the NBA. Maybe 95’ – Basketball Insiders
After being swept by the Denver Nuggets 4-0 in the Western Conference Finals, Lakers superstar LeBron James was all mixed up with feelings of frustration and even retirement. However, if he was to say goodbye to professional basketball, it wouldn’t be because he’s not playing well enough, that’s for sure.
The 38-year-old nearly recorded a triple-double after he dropped 40 points this Monday night in the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, but even still he wasn’t able to defeat Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray’s powerful two-man combination.
Even so, James told the press after the match that he’s “still better than 90 percent of the NBA” and “maybe 95.” The player who has been selected an All-Star in each of his 19 seasons in the NBA, averaged 28.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 6.8 assists during the regular season.
“I’m still better than 90% of the NBA. Maybe 95 [percent].”
Thoughts on LeBron James’ statement? 🤔
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Even though this is precisely the reason why it’s hard to imagine James retiring during this next offseason, we must understand there is a very high standard to which he holds himself.
“It’s all about availability for me and keeping my mind sharp, and things of that nature,” he said. “Being present on the floor, being present in the locker room and bus rides and plane rides, things of that nature. It’s challenging, for sure.
“It was a very challenging season for me, for our ballclub, and obviously we know whatever went on early on (in the Lakers’ 2-10 start to the season). It was cool, a pretty cool ride.”
So, it’s difficult to argue with the fact that injuries and mileage are slowly taking a toll on the small foward, even though he’s promised himself in the past that he would complete his dream of playing alongside his son Bronny before finally hanging up his basketball shoes.
Just as losing the series 4-0 against Denver is a clear example of how he’s slowly losing touch, James was still able to outscore everyone at the Crypto.com as he ended the match with a monster stat line of 40 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and two steals, after playing the whole match except for 4 seconds of play.
Even though the Lakers surprised all this season, LeBron doesn’t consider it a successful year
“I don’t like to say it’s a successful year, because I don’t play for anything besides winning championships at this point in my career,” LeBron claimed. “You know, I don’t get a kick out of making a conference (finals) appearance. I’ve done it a lot, and it’s not fun to me to not be able to be a part of getting to the (NBA) Finals.”
Just to grasp a better understanding of his insane high standards, his 24.5 points per contest this playoffs were his third-lowest ever, and even reached a career-low 25.8% usage rate.
Take a look at his dominant display from last night’s Game 4 against Jokic’s Nuggets:
Even though there’s no shame in losing to the No. 1 seed in the West, LeBron ended his postgame interview announcing he has a lot to think about his future.
“I guess I’ll reflect on my career when I’m done, but I don’t know,” James said. “The only thing I concern myself with is being available to my teammates, and I don’t like the fact that I didn’t play as many games as I would have liked because of injury. That’s the only thing I care about, is being available to my teammates.”