LeBron James is the greatest player of his generation, and many believe he is arguably the greatest of all time. The 18-time All-Star won four NBA Championship and is also a four-time MVP. His career achievements are staggering and he’s set an insane amount of records. But ‘King James’ is also in the twilight of his career.
So today we’ll look at the reasons why this should be his last NBA season. We’ll discuss the Lakers’ descent into dysfunctional chaos as well as his motivations after he has done everything. However, we should be grateful for every game we watch with him now because there may not be many more. Perhaps that’s for the best. Find out why right here.
James is learning quickly that a competitive league isn’t kind to older players. His situation is very similar to the NFL’s Tom Brady in that he’s playing for an ailing team but his individual performances aren’t terrible. If James was an average talent, nobody would say that he’s suffering a major decline (via FOX News).
The problem is that fans have short-term memories and recency bias is a serious problem. People don’t remember what they had for breakfast never mind when James won his first NBA ring. Many of them will foolishly judge his legacy in his latter years as opposed to his career as a whole. It should be his last NBA season because he’ll do less damage to his reputation.
The Lakers may regret signing James to a two-year contract extension. He signed a deal worth almost $100 million in 2021 that binds him to the franchise until 2025. However, this doesn’t leave the team a lot of cap space and they have an expensive and aging roster. James could also look for a trade or even retire before this.
Likely, the Lakers wouldn’t stop him if he wanted to leave. Something needs to happen if they want to revitalize their fortunes but this may cost them the greatest player of their generation. One section of the media speculated that they may trade him for Kevin Durant but that appears unlikely (via Sportskeeda).
Another reason why this may be James’s last NBA season is that he probably won’t win another ring. He will never equal Michael Jordan’s record of six rings or touch Bill Russell’s 11 NBA Championships. Remember, he played in 10 Finals so he had the opportunity to approach this landmark.
One of the biggest questions about James’s current status is his motivation. It’s highly unlikely that he will reach another Finals with the Lakers in their current bloated state. Meanwhile, it’s difficult to think of a contender that needs him or would want to risk their future for his massive salary (via Bleacher Report).
James says that he won’t retire before he shares an NBA court with his son. But there is no guarantee that he will play against or alongside Bronny James. His son won’t be eligible for the Draft until 2024 and hasn’t even played college basketball yet. It’s a bold statement and a big ambition but the chances of fulfilling it are slim.
“My last year will be played with my son,” James told The Athletic in 2022. “Wherever Bronny is at, that’s where I’ll be. I would do whatever it takes to play with my son for one year. It’s not about the money at that point.” Every team will want Bronny because of the marketing opportunities, but he must prove himself first.
Another reason why this should be the last NBA season of James’s incredible career is that new superstars have emerged. We’ve seen a wave of European talent enter the league including Nikola Jokic and Luka Doncic. Meanwhile, the likes of Ja Morant and Zion Williamson are also bright lights (via NBC Sports).
There will come a time James loses the motivation to compete with this new breed of athlete. Amazingly, he remains competitive so late into his thirties but there’s a good chance he’ll take a step back soon. Meanwhile, the NBA may phase him out as the face of the league to ensure there’s no gap when he retires.
Nobody could blame James if he feels burnt out because the Lakers are in a state of disarray. It would be very easy for him to say that this is his last NBA season because he’s committed himself for 18 years. That’s a long time for anybody to do anything and it wouldn’t be shocking for him to retire soon (via FOX Sports).
We know James is in the twilight of his career and fans should appreciate watching his greatness. There’s no doubt that he’s still a top-10 player in the league but each season will see him decline. Michael Jordan famously stepped away from the NBA to play basketball after the sport burnt him out. Don’t be surprised if James walks away soon.
We hate to say it, but James is growing older. This year may be the first time that he feels it because he’s old enough to be a rookie’s father. It may seem bizarre but that’s the reality of the situation. It could also contribute to this being his last NBA season because it may not be as fun (via Bleacher Report).
James may begin to struggle to relate to his younger teammates and question their maturity levels. There’s a big difference between a 20-year-old and somebody who is almost 40. It may not be as enjoyable to share a locker room with them anymore. This isn’t a defining reason but it could contribute to him leaving the sport.
James has reached a stage where basketball is no longer his main source of income. His production company, SpringHill Entertainment, has a net value of 725 million dollars and is making waves in Hollywood. He’ll likely concentrate on this shortly after his last NBA season (via AndScape).
Meanwhile, James dipped his toes into acting when he featured in the Space Jam sequel. He may want to appear in more movies because this will help him to stay in the public eye. It’s difficult to commit to roles when he’s traveling across the U.S. each week with his team. Retirement may be growing more tempting for the Akron native.
One serious issue with the Lakers is that they’re not playing as a team but rather as a collection of individuals. They ended the 2021 season in a disgraceful manner as they visibly stopped putting in an effort. Russell Westbrook suffered shooting problems but that wasn’t the team’s biggest issue.
James isn’t the type of personality to condone this type of culture and he’s likely made his feelings known. They rival the Brooklyn Nets as one of the most star-studded dysfunctional teams of the modern era. Fortunately, they recently won a Championship but it’s all downhill (via Fox Sports).
A lot may depend on whether the Cavaliers want to bring him back to Cleveland or not. James is treading water in Los Angeles and knows that the team’s opportunities are over. He may not win another ring with the Cavs but a second homecoming would be beautiful for his devoted fanbase (via FOX Sports).
There may also be a greater chance of him playing alongside his son if he rejoined the Cavs too. However, if they decide that they’re not interested it may be LeBron’s last NBA season because they’ll be killing one of his dreams. James loves Akron and his community so a return would be fantastic.
James loves his family and may decide that it’s time to give more time to them. His children are indeed growing older and Bronny may be playing in the NBA soon. But long sporting careers require a lot of travel and this kept him away from his family for a long time (via USA Today Sports).
The basketball star enjoyed the global health crisis because it meant he had the rare opportunity to spend time with his loved ones. He might also see how Tom Brady’s obsession with his sport cost him his relationship. That’s a warning for James and a key reason why this may be his last NBA season.
Tom Brady signed a massive, lucrative contract to work with FOX Sports after his retirement. James witnessed this and the dollar signs immediately lit up in his eyes. There’s no reason why he couldn’t do the same and earn staggering amounts of money while remaining in the public eye (via Larry Brown Sports).
It would be the perfect situation for the basketball star and enable him to continue with his other business interests. The 18-time All-Star said that he wants to stay around the game forever. But it’s safe to say that he doesn’t just mean making shoes. Expect to see him on your TVs regularly for a long time.
James is the first active NBA player to become a billionaire. Michael Jordan achieved the accolade after his retirement because he focused on his business interests including his iconic shoes. However, James went even further and earned this staggering fortune while playing ball every week (via Forbes).
Incredibly, he did this but it’s easy to question his motivation. That’s also why this may be his last season because the Lakers are a sinking ship. They’re a fantastic brand to help him to promote himself but nobody wants to associate with losers. It may be time for James to step into the business world full-time.
The Lakers have an Anthony Davis-sized problem. He is a brilliant player, even if he is struggling to stay healthy this season. However, there’s a feeling that he won’t achieve his full potential until James leaves the franchise. After all, the four-time NBA champion is one of the most famous athletes on the planet.
Perhaps the Lakers will decide that it’s time to invest everything in Davis and build a team around him. It may make sense to trade James so that they can rebuild their roster and use Davis as the glue that binds them together. This may not prove popular but it could be the smart thing to do (via NBC Sports).
One of the main reasons why James is still playing is because he wants to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s scoring record. He will likely achieve this in 2022/23 if he maintains his scoring average. Currently, his fellow Lakers legend has an overall record of 38,387 career points (via ESPN).
James averaged under 26 points per game across the first six games of the season. This means it’s likely he’ll reach the total by March if he stays on the court for the rest of the year. Furthermore, it depends on how the Lakers use him because they’ll be aware of the landmark. But they also must protect the veteran from potential injuries.
There’s no doubt that James has massive political influence in the United States. He regularly calls out people online including Elon Musk and Donald Trump. Meanwhile, he’s a civil rights activist and supports equality across the nation. However, his critics think that his attitude toward China is a double standard because he continues to do business there.
Nonetheless, James may decide to step away from basketball and use his political power in a more concerted way. It wouldn’t be shocking to see him run for office because of his popularity. With the way things are today, James may think that he could be a symbol of reunification across the nation (via Politico).
Nothing is certain in the world of professional sports. The NBA is less physically demanding than the NFL but time hurts every athlete. Nobody likes to see a superstar suffer a severe and sudden decline like Matt Ryan or Ben Roethlisberger in the football world. However, there is nothing that they can do to stop it except retire before it happens.
James may decide that this is his last NBA season because he is putting up good numbers. Fans should want more than to wish he quit a couple of years earlier. Few athletes achieve this because it’s so difficult to walk away (via The Mirror). The bright lights and the glory are too tempting for them to leave it behind.
One key factor that may influence James’ retirement is his desire to own an NBA franchise. There’s a lot of talk about a new Las Vegas team and analysts believe that he wants to invest. However, the current rules prevent an active player from owning shares in a franchise because it’s a conflict of interest (via Sportskeeda).
The NBA is planning to expand the league within a couple of seasons and this will line up with his retirement plans. A new Seattle franchise, replacing the SuperSonics, may also emerge but James wants Las Vegas. This would see him follow in Michael Jordan’s footsteps as the only other former player to own a team.
One of the Lakers’ main issues is keeping their best players fit. Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook are missing a lot of games in 2022. This puts extra pressure on James’ aging shoulders because he must deliver when they’re not on the court. It’s unfair to expect a 37-year-old to carry an entire franchise.
However, that’s exactly what James is doing right now and it may exhaust him. He may decide that he’s done with dragging teams through difficult times. It must be exhausting and feel like a thankless task but fans don’t appreciate it when their team loses. That’s why this may be his last NBA season (via L.A. Times).
The main reason why this should be James’ last NBA season is that he doesn’t have anything left to prove. Yes, we mentioned a few records that he could match or even overtake on this list. But the reality is that there is no need to complete these to change his legacy (via CBS Sports).
If he does, it will be the cherry on top of a magnificent career. Everybody has already made their mind up about him and his magnificent career. Many fans and analysts think that he is the greatest of all time and he’s earned a fortune from the sport. If he wants to step away, nobody should criticize him for it.