LeBron James on when he’ll retire: ‘Kind of up to my kids, really’
LeBron James, 31, and has played 46,349 regular-and-postseason minutes over 13 NBA seasons. Between all the miles he’s put on him imposing frame and the season-long farewell tour recently completed by Kobe Bryant, a discussion arose Thursday about when the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar plans on hanging up his sneakers for good.
While he says he intends to play “later on in my 30s” — a vague statement, to be sure — James also suggested that how his children — LeBron Jr., 11, Bryce, 8, and Zhuri, 19 mos. — feel about him continuing his pro basketball career eventually will influence his decision on continuing to play or whether to walk away from the game.
“It’s kind of up to my kids, really,” James said, via cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon. “I’ve missed so much of my kids’ tournaments and things of that nature when I’m playing. So, it’s kind of up to them. They’ll let me know when they’re tired of seeing me go away.”
James enjoyed a relatively injury-free 2015-16 campaign and he credits his improved diet, yoga and an overall better commitment to healthy living as the reasons behind it.
But the fact that he has spent a majority of his career — especially over the past six seasons — going deep into the playoffs, James has even less time during the offseason to rest and recharge.
“It’s not like I go into the season saying OK, I’m going to play into June,” he said. “I don’t have that sense of entitlement, but I do prepare myself for the long haul. … I’ve played a lot of basketball over the last few years and I’ve been fortunate to play at the highest level for a long time now. I have to listen to my body and my body has done well for me.”
Much like Kobe before him, it’s hard to recall a time when James wasn’t in the league. But as noted, he has been one of the main faces of the organization for 13 years. Sooner or later, getting older — as it does with everyone — will catch up to James. But it looks like his children will have as much influence as Father Time.
The NBA life — as it is any other professional sport, not to mention countless other not-so-glamorous vocations — obviously means mothers and fathers are forced to spend a lot of time away from their families, which of course can be hard on the children.
And while no one is going to shed too many tears for James — given the millions upon millions of dollars he’s earned, the worldwide fame and adoration he enjoys and the innumerable benefits that go along with all of it — it still must be hard on him to be on the road so much away from his children.