(CNN) — Following the Los Angeles Lakers’ loss in the Western Conference Finals to the Denver Nuggets in May, LeBron James hinted at a possible retirement after telling reporters he had “a lot to think about.”
This Wednesday at the 2023 ESPYS Awards Ceremony, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer announced that he will be returning to the Lakers for his 21st season with the National Basketball Association (NBA).
“I don’t care how many points I score or what I can or can’t do on the pitch. The real question for me is: can I play without cheating in this game? On the day that I can’t giving the game my all on the floor is the day I will finish. Luckily for you, the day is not today,” James said.
The crowd at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles erupted in massive cheers.
James has repeatedly said he hopes to one day play in the NBA alongside his eldest son, Bronny James, who is committed to playing college basketball at the University of Southern California. James would be eligible to enter the NBA Draft in 2024, the year his father turns 40.
“And you know, what brings me back every year is watching and coaching my guys and their teammates,” James continued. “I see these kids and I remember why I play. These kids bring me back to where I need to be, just pure love for this beautiful game. So yeah, I still have some left. I got a lot.”
The 38-year-old received the all-time best performance award for passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become the NBA’s top scorer last season.