LeBron James hopes to end his career with Los Angeles Lakers

Grace Hollars-USA TODAY Sports
The Sporting Tribune's Arash Markazi writes that LeBron James isn't sure how his career will end but he hopes its with the Lakers.

INDIANAPOLIS – Many have been trying to map out the end of LeBron James’ career (Will it be with the Lakers? Will it be with Bronny? Will it be in Las Vegas?) for sometime now but James said he hasn’t given it much thought before playing in his record 20th NBA All-Star Game on Sunday.

He did say, however, that he is hopeful that it will be with the Los Angeles Lakers.

“I am a Laker, and I am happy and have been very happy being a Laker the last six years, and hopefully it stays that way,” James said. “But I don’t have the answer to how long it is or which uniform I’ll be in. Hopefully it is with the Lakers. It’s a great organization and so many greats. But we’ll see. I don’t know how it’s going to end, but it’s coming. It’s coming, for sure.”

James was being asked about being closer to the end of his career than the beginning, which he jokingly interupted and said, “I am. I promise you.”

“I have not mapped out how many seasons I have left,” he said. “I know it’s not that many. I also don’t know if I will — I was asked this question a couple days ago – Will you kind of take the farewell tour, or will you, kind of just Tim Duncan it?”

James was referring to Duncan retiring through a statement from the team one month after the end of the NBA season without a press conference, farewell tour or anything. The statement didn’t even include a quote from Duncan.  

“I’m 50-50,” James said. “I’m going to be honest, because there’s times when I feel like I guess I owe it to my fans that have been along this journey with me for two decades plus, to be able to give them that moment where it’s every city and whatever the case may be and they give you your flowers or whatever the case may be. That seems cool.

“But on the other side, I’ve never been that great with accepting praise. It’s a weird feeling for me. I never really talked about it much, but it’s just a weird feeling for me. So, to go in each city, if that’s the case — I don’t know. I’ve seen Mike’s, I’ve seen Kobe’s. I’ve seen a lot of guys. I just don’t know how I’d feel. I don’t know if I’d feel great about it. Maybe it’s the only child in me maybe.”

The bigger question at this point for Lakers fans is if he will retire with the Lakers or perhaps end his career somewhere else as he pursues one more championship before he retires. James has a player option for next season, which will be his 22nd in the NBA, for $51.4 million and he has yet to say what he plans to do.

There has also been growing speculation that James wants to end his career playing alongside his son, Bronny, who is currently a freshman on the USC men’s basketball team and averaging 5.7 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 2.6 assists in 18 games for the 10-16 Trojans. Bronny was cleared to play in November after suffering a cardiac arrest during a team workout last July.

As James pursues winning a fifth NBA championship, he would also like to win his fourth Olympic gold medal before he retires. James reiterated his commitment to playing for Team USA at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. James’ Lakers teammate Anthony Davis also said he would also like to be on the team. They both said the decision will come down to their health at the end of the Lakers’ season.

“I told myself before the season when I committed to being a part of the Olympic team, obviously it was all predicated on my health,” James said. “As it stands right now, I am healthy enough to be on the team and perform at a level that I knew I could perform at. If I’m committed, which I am, to Team USA, then I’m going to commit my mind, body and soul to being out there for Team USA, being out there representing our country with the utmost respect and go out and play.”