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Ahead of LeBron James’ $99,023,288 Contract, Close Friend Divulges Into King’s Retirement

Published 07/12/2023, 10:30 AM EDT

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USA Today via Reuters

LeBron James made a gut-wrenching statement after the post-season exit against Denver. He showcased uncertainty regarding his comeback as a basketball player. Thanks to the basketball gods, all that is behind us. James is set to return as a Laker and has signed an extension until the end of the ’24 season. Along with the common talks of James’ legendary longevity, we can now expect more talks about his possible retirement. 

LeBron is 38 years old and set to play in his 21st NBA season. In a recent NBA Radio exclusive, one of LeBron’s close friends was asked about the possibility of James playing at age 45. In return, he had an interesting take on the matter.

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Rich Paul was in conversation with Frank Isola and Sarah Kustok. The LeBron question naturally paved the way after mentioning Venus Williams’ recent comment on how she would like to play until she’s 50 years old.

Frank asked Rich Paul, “Do you envision something where he (LeBron) does actually play, maybe, 43, 44, 45. Do you see that happening?”. It would signify LeBron’s continuation in the league for an additional 6-7 years if it were to occur. Rich gave a very distinct and well-evaluated reply. 

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Rich mentions how money is not a factor in James’ drive to play but his love for the game. Regarding health, LeBron might be coming off a tendon tear, but he also had a legendary season the previous season. He might have lost a step, but he can still impact every area of the game effectively.

What adds weight to Paul’s words is that he has been friends with LeBron for about two decades. Apart from being on a family-like terms with James, Rich is also his agent. Their brotherhood is so well-knit that once NBA investigated whether James held any shares in Rich Paul’s player agency – Klutch Sports.

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Can LeBron really go that long?

The Lakers had free agency success by retaining Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura, and D’Angelo Russell on profitable contracts. They also added Gabe Vincent, Taurean Prince, and Jaxson Hayes. Despite a promising run late in the season, the year was tough for them, both mentally and physically. They faced injuries and had to play with desperation, which left them exhausted. Moreover, there was an evident struggle with team chemistry until the trade deadline.

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If the Lakers manage the season well, their depth will allow LeBron James and Anthony Davis to play fewer minutes, reducing the toll on their bodies. If they can minimize the physical and mental strain, there will be fewer questions about LeBron’s career longevity and more success for the team.

USA Today via Reuters

In the coming season, if the Lakers manage well, their depth will allow LeBron James to play fewer minutes. This could easily reduce the toll on his body. If they can minimize the physical and mental strain, there will be fewer questions about LeBron’s crunch time potential and more success for the team.

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Yearly, James spends around $1.5 million on staying in shape. Considering how uniquely James takes care of his body, do you think he can still perform at an All-Star level even in his early 40s, similar to Tom Brady in the NFL? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

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Written by:

Saahil Dhillan

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One take at a time

Saahil Dhillan is an NBA Writer at Essentially Sports. He has been writing articles and blogs for 5 years now, including those for a sports brand that manufactures knee braces, for a Red Bull athlete in 2019 and for a documentary of an Ultra Running Coach in 2021. There’s plenty Saahil can write about why he likes basketball, having followed the NBA for more than 10 years, but he is most keen on picking out various offense/defense strategies, on/off-court decisions, roster changes in crunch time and other underrated key elements that leave an impact on the scoreboard.
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Edited by:

Saumya Khanduja