As his season ended, LeBron James admitted that he was contemplating his future in the NBA.

Well, it looks like he’s come to: He announced Wednesday night at the ESPYs that he’s returning for a 21st season.

James accepted the award for the best record performance from last year, commemorating him when he passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s all-time scorer when he made the announcement.


Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James throws dust into the air before the team’s NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

«When the season ended, I said I wasn’t sure I’d play anymore, and I know a lot of experts told you what I said, but now I’m here speaking for myself,» James said.

James said his retirement contemplation was not a joke; in fact, he’s been thinking about it for a while.

«At that point, I wonder if I can still play without cheating. Can I still give my all to the game? The truth is, I’ve been asking myself this late-season question for a couple of years now. I just never spoke openly of that».

«I don’t care how many more points I score or what I can and can’t do on the court. The real question for me is ‘can I play without cheating in this game?’ The day I can’t give it my all on the ground is the day I’ll finish.»

Lebron James

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) meets with former player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar after breaking the all-time NBA scoring record against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the second half at Arena. (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo)

«Luckily for you, that day is not today.»

James said his sons’ passion for the game keeps him coming back each year: The oldest, Bronny, will play at USC next season and is likely to be a first-round pick in 2024.

«And you know the thing that brings me back every year is watching and coaching my guys and their teammates,» James continued. «I see those kids and it reminds me what I’m playing for. Those kids get me back to where I need to be, just pure love for this beautiful game.»

«So yeah, I still have some left. There’s a lot left.»

LeBron James talks to his son, Bronny, on the court

Bronny James #6 of the West team talks with Lebron James of the Los Angeles Lakers after the 2023 McDonald’s High School Boys All-American Game at the Toyota Center on March 28, 2023 in Houston, Texas. (Alex Bierens deHaan/Getty Images)


James has long discussed his desire to play with Bronny.

James and his Los Angeles Lakers were swept in the Western Conference Finals by the eventual NBA champion Denver Nuggets, but not before defeating the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors in the first two rounds. .

In his 20th season, James averaged 28.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 6.8 assists.