LeBron James went from postseason hero to possible retiree earlier this week after the Denver Nuggets swept the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Final. Reports have been contradictory and speculation has been rampant, but in his own words, James maintains confidence in his abilities on the floor.

“Because I’m still better than 90% of the NBA,” James told ESPN. “Maybe 95.”

James also admitted that he had to begin considering retirement, saying that he “had a lot to think about” following the Lakers’ 113-111 Game 4 loss Monday. James scored 31 points in the first half of the contest but his potential game-tying shot in the closing seconds was blocked.

In terms of physical fitness and long-term stamina, however, James claimed that the wear and tear of the game wasn’t a significant obstacle in 2023, even when he had to overcome a foot injury in March. He will reportedly consider offseason surgery to properly treat the injury after playing through the pain for more than a month.

“I knew I could get to the finish line,” James said after the game. “Obviously, I knew I had to deal with it and deal with the pain or deal with not being able to be myself before the injury, but there was nothing that made me feel like I couldn’t get to the finish line.”

Though James has accomplished more than nearly any other player in NBA history after 20 seasons in the league, the Lakers star still has ambitions as he nears the end of his career. Most notably, James has repeatedly expressed a desire to play a season with his son, Bronny James, who recently committed to USC and is already projected as a top-10 pick in the 2024 NBA draft.

“I need to be on the floor with my boy, I got to be on the floor with Bronny … Either in the same uniform or a matchup against him,” James said in January. “But I would love to do the whole Ken Griffey Sr. and Jr. thing. That would be ideal for sure.”

In the 2022-23 regular season, James scored 28.9 points per game and earned Third-Team All-NBA honors. At age 38, he remains one of the highest scorers in the league. He has lost a step but continues to produce at a league-leading level and would remain a centerpiece of the Lakers offense if he returned next season.

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