Although the Los Angeles Lakers’ 2021-22 season was full of negative aspects, there was one shining light of positivity that provided some joy even in the darkest days of the campaign’s second half: The play of one LeBron James, who nearly won the league’s scoring title at the age of 37, a pursuit that was aided by two 50+ point games that came within six days of each other in the month of March.
Of course, the one downside to LeBron’s season that resulted in him not even being eligible for said title was his health, as he missed 26 regular-season games. LeBron missed 27 games in each of the 2020-21 and 2018-19 seasons, as this trend of Father Time catching up to The King is most likely putting a smile on the face of this guy, who has been waiting on this demise for seven years now.
His play when healthy makes it seem doubtful that James’ eventual retirement will come after his current Lakers contract ends in the 2023 offseason, but still, the best ability is availability. And although that ability was argubaly LeBron’s best in the first 15 seasons of his career, it has become one of his worst while wearing purple and gold.
LeBron was kind enough to talk about this during his Q&A on Twitter last week, answering a question from a fan about how many more years he feels he has left in this league.
The way I feel, I can go on for a min to be honest. It's really up to me and my mental staying fresh/sharp! I'm still psycho driven!— LeBron James (@KingJames) May 17, 2022
So yeah, for all the people thinking LeBron wasn’t “psycho driven” anymore... news flash... he is!
Although LeBron’s opinion of himself may not matter when it comes to what injuries he will be subjected to, it does provide some good news to his fans, and some bad news for his haters. For one, LeBron wasn’t forced to answer the question. This was only one of the 31,500 replies that his “Q&A folks???” Tweet received. If he had any doubts about his ability to play a few more seasons, he just wouldn’t have answered it.
Another interesting aspect here is also the fact that he called out his “mental” health instead of his physical health. Given all of the missed games he’s had in recent years, you’d imagine LeBron would be worried about his body giving out on him before his mind does. That’s either a reflection of the time and money he puts into his conditioning and recovery, or a reflection of how grueling it has to be mentally to spend more than half of your time on earth competing day-in and day-out. Hell, it’s probably a little bit of both.
Either way, don’t expect a retirement tour from LeBron any time soon. Whether he stays with the Lakers... or not.