Lakers News: LeBron James Updates Retirement Timeline – Sports Illustrated

  • September 18, 2022

Seemingly-immortal Los Angeles Lakers All-NBA forward LeBron James, 37, is gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated once again! This time, he is flanked by some interesting workout compatriots: his sons LeBron "Bronny" James Jr., 17, and Bryce James, 15.
In a nod to the "Chosen One" cover story highlighting the eldest James when he was just a high school junior in February 2002, this cover story from Chris Ballard is entitled "Chosen Sons" (at least, on the front of the magazine). Ballard spoke with the James gang at a weekend basketball competition in July.
James has already established that he hopes to stick in the league long enough to play alongside Bronny, currently a high school senior at the private Sierra Canyon School in Chatsworth. Bryce is a sophomore. The soonest that LeBron could share the floor with Bronny looks to be the 2024-25 season, when LeBron will turn 40. Ballard notes that this has never been achieved in the NBA, but has transpired twice in baseball (Ken Griffey played with Ken Griffey Jr. and Tim Raines played alongside Tim Raines Jr.) and once in hockey (Gordie Howe played alongside songs Mark and Marty Howe).
James told The Athletic in February that he intended to play his "last year" with Bronny. It appears he is expanding his timeline for sticking around in the NBA. 
6'2" Bronny is currently ranked in the top 50 for his rising high school class, meaning he could be a second-round pick or even an undrafted prospect when he first becomes NBA-eligible.
LeBron has always been a committed sports dad, a frequent attendant of both sons' basketball games when his schedule allows. Ballard recalls the four-time MVP's enthusiasm while watching Bronny nail his first in-game dunk, aged 14.
LeBron's mother Gloria tells Ballard that James has always been "adamant" he would be a constant, reliable presence in his kids' life, in stark contrast to the Chosen One's relationship with his absentee father growing up.
Both James boys confirmed their interest to play professionally in the piece.
Given that LeBron has emphasized the opportunity to play with his son may not be contingent on him making as much money as possible, it remains to be seen whether the 18-time All-Star would stick around with the Lakers beyond 2024. He has a $50.4 million player option with L.A. for the 2024-25 season.
The wildest part of the interview, though, was James's comments about exactly how long he intends to hang out in the NBA.
“I’d definitely be looking at who got first-round picks in 2024, 2025, things of that nature; 2026, ’27. I pay attention to that type of stuff,” he tells Ballard in the article. 
“Is there a chance you’d stick around for this guy, too?” Ballard follows up, looking at Bryce.
“I feel like I could play for quite a while," James hints. "So it’s all up to my body, but more importantly, my mind. If my mind can stay sharp and fresh and motivated, then the sky’s not even a limit for me. I can go beyond that. But we shall see.”
James would turn 43 during the 2026-27 NBA season, which would be a league-record 24th year of play. If anybody can do it, it's the all-time superstar who lavishes a rumored $1.5 million on maintaining his body annually.

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