LeBron James used his acceptance speech at the 2023 ESPY Awards to put an end to whispers he’s bowing out by confirming that he will be returning for the Lakers next season.
Speculation that he would retire began earlier this year after the Los Angeles Lakers lost the Western Conference final to Denver in May. He claimed he had “a lot to think about” amid rumors he was considering retirement.
However, LeBron James finally shut down the retirement speculation while accepting the ESPY Award for Best Record-Breaking Performance. He achieved the record for passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the league’s all-time leading scorer.
“I don’t care how many more points I score, or what I can or cannot do on the floor,” James said during the ceremony Wednesday night (July 12).
“The real question for me is: Can I play without cheating this game? The day I can’t give everything on the floor is the day I’ll be done. Lucky for you guys, that day is not today,” he added. “In my 20 years playing this game and all the years before, I’ve never, ever cheated the game and I will never take it for granted.” Check out a clip below and watch the entire speech here.
Elsewhere during his speech, LeBron James dismissed the suggestion he will continue to play until either of his sons make the NBA. Nonetheless, coaching them helps keep him in the game.
“You know what brings me back every year? It’s watching and coaching my boys and their teammates,” he declared. “I see those kids and it brings me right back to why I play. Those kids get me back to where I need to be, just the pure love of this beautiful game.”
Zhuri James Makes Sure Mom Keeps It Clean
However, despite his long-awaited confirmation that he’s sticking around, it was the NBA superstar’s daughter who stole the show. Little Zhuri James interrupted mom Savannah’s touching speech to tell her to keep it clean!
“I want to tell you what I think: I think LeBron James is the baddest mother—” she said before her daughter shut her down.