FOX Sports NBA Writer
LeBron James ended his postgame press conference with a gut-wrenching message after the Los Angeles Lakers were swept by the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference finals on Monday, and seemed to hint that he might be contemplating retirement.
“I don’t like to say it’s a successful year because I’m not playing for anything but winning championships at this point in my career,” James said. “You know, I’m not good at lecturing at all [Finals] appearance I’ve done it, a lot. And I’m not happy that I can’t be part of reaching the final.
“We’ll see what happens in the future. I don’t know. I don’t know. I have a lot to think about, to be honest. I have a lot to think about, to be honest. Just for me personally, moving forward with the game of basketball, I have a lot things to think about.”
James was coming off one of the most impressive performances of his career in the playoffs, finishing with 40 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, including a career-high 31 points in the playoffs.
But it wasn’t enough, with the Lakers falling to the Nuggets, 113-111.
At 38, he played all but four seconds of Game 4. He scored nearly twice as much as any of his teammates, with the next leading scorer being Anthony Davis, who had 21 points.
The Lakers led by as many as 15 points in the first half before the Nuggets outscored them in the third quarter, 36-16. With the Nuggets up 113-111, James had two chances to tie the score in the final 26 seconds, but missed both a 20-foot fadeaway and a five-foot floater.
James is a four-time champion who has been to the finals 10 times over his 20-season career. After winning a championship with the Lakers in 2020, LA was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs in 2021 and missed the playoffs last season.
This season, after a 2-10 start and a 13th-place finish in the Western Conference at the end of February, James led his team to within eight wins of its fifth title.
James has made it clear in the past that he wants to stay in the NBA long enough to play with his son, Bronny, who recently committed to USC and will be eligible to play in the NBA through the 2024-25 season.
Melissa Rohlin is an NBA writer for FOX Sports. He previously covered the league for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Times, the Bay Area News Group and the San Antonio Express-News. Follow her on Twitter @melissarohlin.
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