Friday, January 27, 2023

Nearing 38, LeBron Just Wants To Win

MIAMI – Back in the arena where he played arguably the best basketball of his career, LeBron James was asked instead to go back in time to look into the future and share how long he plans to play in the NBA.

“I don’t have a number,” James said on Wednesday after the Los Angeles Lakers’ 112-98 loss to his former team, the Miami Heat, when asked how many more seasons left in him. “I know that as long as my mind is focused, I can play at this level for a minute. Now, it depends on my mind. My body will be fine because if my mind is on it, I am sure I’ll make sure my body is being taken care of and I’ll keep working.”

It was another great night personally for the 20-year-old veteran, leading the Lakers in points (27), rebounds (9) and assists (6). But L.A. lost for the ninth time in their last 13 games, falling to 14–21 on the season, placing the Lakers 13th out of 15 teams in the Western Conference.

While James said his mental focus will ultimately determine how long after the two-year, $97 million he has left on his Lakers contract (with a second-year player option), this focus is closely tied to the team’s performance. Has happened.

Winning, apparently in James’ estimation, is the true source of his youth.

“I’m a winner and I want to win,” James said. “And I want to win and give myself a chance to challenge for a championship and win. It’s always been my passion, it’s always been my goal ever since I started in the league as an 18-year-old kid from Akron, Ohio.” had come.”

James’ time with the Lakers has been the roughest of any of the three franchises he played for. In Cleveland, he won Rookie of the Year, two MVPs, made five trips to the NBA Finals, and won a championship and Finals MVP. In Miami, there were two more MVPs, four trips to the Finals, two championships, and two Finals MVPs.

As a member of the Purple and Gold, he became the first player in league history to win Finals MVP with three different teams, earning the honor for the Lakers’ win over the Heat in the 2020 Finals in the bubble in Florida. He also missed the playoffs twice and experienced the only loss in the first round playoffs of his career.

Not to mention the Lakers’ struggle this season.

While the topic of James’ longevity naturally came up as he approached his 38th birthday on Friday, his decision to field the question could have been an attempt to pressure the Lakers’ front office into keeping another player. Can go on the roster and make it more competitive.

Since Lakers power forward Anthony Davis was sidelined with a strain injury to his right foot nearly two weeks ago, James has made astute comments about the situation in Los Angeles, whether he’ll be able to surround his stars in Sacramento with Domantas Sabonis. whether praising the build of the Kings’ roster and De’Aaron Fox or if he was rhetorically following the Christmas Day loss to the Dallas Mavericks, “How many times are they going to try to get out [de un hoyo perdedor],

Lakers vice president and general manager of basketball operations Rob Pelinka announced at the team’s annual media day in September that it would be his duty to build a competitive team around James.

“Let me be very clear: We have one of the great players in LeBron James and he’s committed to a three-year deal, on a long-term deal. A deal that allows us to help LeBron reach the Finals.” opportunities,” Pelinka said. “He committed to our organization. It should be a bipartisan commitment.”

James has reshaped the notion of how long a player’s prime should last in the league. This season, his 27.8 points per game average ranks ninth in the NBA in his career span of two decades, and his 35.8 minutes per game ranks 19th.

“He’s a fierce, fierce competitor,” said Lakers coach Darwin Hamm after the loss in Miami. “In the team, we are facing our ups and downs at the moment. We are at the wrong end of the win-loss column. He works like I’ve never seen available and is able to produce physically at an extremely high level.”

In a recent interview with German journalist Maximilian Haupt, James’ teammate Dennis Schroder, speaking in his native language, said the Lakers star told him he expected to play seven more years until he was 45. .

That number may not have been pulled out of thin air. James has long been a fan of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, who is still playing in the NFL at age 45 and won his record seventh Super Bowl at age 43.

Schroder told ESPN that he hoped James would reach that goal because “the NBA needs him” and because it would be special for James to have the chance to play in the league with one or both of his sons.

James, with a sad tone in his voice, said he had a lot on his mind as he prepared to blow out the candles on his birthday cake this year.

James said, “I think about how much longer I will play.” “I think I don’t want to end my career playing at this level from the team’s point of view. I will still be able to compete for the championship because I know what I can still bring to any club with the right pieces in place.” Am.”

“I figure my son will be graduating high school soon, going to college, and I’m still playing. My youngest is going to be a junior next year, how much more time am I going to waste. So all day For weeks, months, I think about everything”.

Nation World News Desk
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