The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Is Lebron Done With the League?

The Year is 2013. With our dads in tow, my friends and I made the trek to Madison Square Garden to watch the New York Knicks play against the man himself, LeBron James. It was like watching the rise of a dynasty. James and the newly formed “Big Three,” which included Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, were coming off of their first NBA Championship win. At the time, it felt like the team stood alone atop the basketball world. James was still the best player in the league — dominating every serious contender, and during that particular game against New York, he was a commanding presence on the court. With the score at 97-93, James stole the ball and cruised down the court for a thunderous dunk, icing the game for the Miami Heat. That was the moment where, in my nine-year-old brain, I realized that LeBron James was simply on a different level from everyone else. And, to no one’s surprise, the Heat would go on to win another NBA Championship that year; the dynasty was solidified.

Looking back on James’ Miami days from where we currently stand, the dynasty that everyone expected never really materialized. Instead of a collective Heat dynasty, the team transformed more into something of a LeBron James show, but he was never able to carry the full weight of that team on his back. After a loss to the San Antonio Spurs in the 2014 NBA Finals, James decided to go back to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team that originally drafted him. While in Cleveland, he would secure another championship in a miraculous come-from-behind victory against the 73-9 Warriors, where the Cavs had gone down 3-1 early in the series. He would get another ring during the 2020 COVID-19 “bubble” season, this time as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. In total, James would set a record for most consecutive finals appearances with eight, from 2011-2018, along with four MVPs and many more all-NBA years throughout his career.

No matter how long someone is able to keep up a certain standard of excellence, one would, eventually, expect to see signs of decline. However, at the incredible age of 38, James averaged 28.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 6.8 assists. Despite these incredible statistics, last season was the first time in a while where you couldn’t definitively say he was the best player in the league. Younger players like Luka Dončić, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokić had better years and went further in the playoffs. Recent news that James will have his minutes restricted this season to 28-30 minutes a game has some fans wondering if this is the beginning of the end.

Sports fans love to make doomsday predictions; whether it’s a team or a player, everyone likes to hate on the top dog. Sports fans also get bored, and they get bored fast. With someone like James, who has been at the top of the league for decades, people will, naturally, be awaiting the end of his reign of dominance. The stats, however, show that the aging star is still one of the best five players in the league. James’ media statements make it clear that retirement is not on his mind right now. This is particularly evident in what he said when he was benched for maintenance on opening night this season.

“Listen, I mean, I always want to be on the floor. Especially when you got an opportunity to win a game or you feel like you can make an impact,” James said.

When James talks about how he sees his career ending, there is one common theme — nothing that has to do with his personal decline or a minute description, but with his son.

There is also the question of LeBron (Bronny) James Jr., who is a first-year on the University of Southern California (USC) men’s basketball team. There has been a longstanding debate about whether Bronny James was just a random kid who was decent at basketball, getting attention because of his dad, or if he was a legitimate prospect. James has been supportive, maintaining that he wants to play on an NBA court with his son, as he mentioned in 2022.

“My last year will be played with my son […]. Wherever Bronny is at, that’s where I’ll be. I would do whatever it takes to play with my son for one year. It’s not about the money at that point.”

So far, Bronny James has lived up to the lofty expectations surrounding him. He played high school basketball at Southern California powerhouse Sierra Canyon, and he worked his way up to number 19 in basketball recruits for his class, which kept him on track to be a first-round pick. LeBron James currently has a two-year contract with the Lakers, but a player option on 2024-2025 means that he could decline the offer. This sets up James perfectly to go wherever his son might get drafted and have one last hurrah before he leaves the game for good. Though Father Time may be calling soon, as James hinted in an exclusive interview with Bleacher Report, he could have one last chance to be a father on the court.

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