LeBron James, Lakers

Getty LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has shown few signs of slowing down, even in his 21st NBA season, but he can feel the end drawing near.

James spoke about his looming retirement following a 40-point performance against the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday, March 21.

“Not very long. Not very long,” James said about how much longer he will play, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “I’m on the other side obviously of the hill, so, I’m not gonna play another 21 years, that’s for damn sure. But not very long. I don’t know when that door will close as far as … when I’ll retire, but I don’t have much time left.”

Lakers Star LeBron James Made History With 40-Point Performance Against Nets

LeBron James, LakersLeBron James, Lakers

GettyLeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers.

For a player without “much time left,” as James described himself, the game he put together against the Nets was both historical and astonishing.

With his 40 points, James joined Michael Jordan as the only two players to score that much on multiple occasions after turning 39 years old. James has now done so twice, while Jordan accomplished the feat three times. Jordan played his final season at the age of 40, while James will turn 40 years old in December during what will be his 22nd NBA campaign in the 2024-25 season, assuming he doesn’t retire before then.

On top of dropping 40 points at 39 years of age, James did so by netting nine 3-pointers on 10 attempts. He talked to McMenamin and other reporters following the game about that performance.

I don’t ever have to lean on [3-pointers] because I can do so much — I can score on any level on the floor basically once I cross half court. But being able to have a growth mindset and be able to work on things that the league is changing to, the league is a heavy 3-point shooting league.

I’m not one of those guys that wants to go out there and shoot 12, 14 or 15 3s per game. But I want to be respected, and teams have to play me from the outside. That’s still kind of one thing teams [think] … “If we have to give up something, we’d much rather him shoot the ball from the outside.”

Lakers Hot With 2 Games Remaining on Late-Season Road Trip

LeBron James, Los Angeles LakersLeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers

GettyLeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers.

James’ performance helped to nearly solidify the Lakers’ place in the NBA’s Play-In Tournament on the Western Conference side of the bracket. Los Angeles is currently the No. 9 seed in the West and held a 3.5-game lead over the 11th-seeded Houston Rockets heading into Monday night’s slate of games.

The Lakers trailed the Phoenix Suns (seed No. 7) by two games and the Sacramento Kings (seed No. 8) by 1.5 games heading into Monday night, and held a 1.5-game lead over the 10th-seeded Golden State Warriors.

Los Angeles will continue its current six-game road trip on Tuesday night against the Toronto Raptors before finishing it off Wednesday night against the Washington Wizards. The Lakers are 3-1 over their last four, including a double-overtime victory against the Milwaukee Bucks without James on the floor.

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