LeBron James, the superstar of the Los Angeles Lakers, has personally addressed the swirling rumors about his retirement.
The 38-year-old used an emotional speech at the annual ESPY Awards to assure fans he will play in the NBA next season.
James claimed he had a “lot to think about” after the Lakers crashed out of the NBA playoffs on May 23.
Los Angeles was swept 4-0 by the Denver Nuggets, who would go on to win the NBA title.
LeBron told reporters after the loss: “We’ll see, we’ll see what happens going forward.
“I don’t know [if I’ll carry on]. I don’t know. I’ve got a lot to think about, to be honest.
“Just for me, going forward with the game of basketball, I’ve got a lot to think about.”
But the four-time champion put any speculation to bed as he took to the stage at the Dolby Theatre on Wednesday night.
LeBron was accepting an award for Best Record-Breaking Performance after becoming the NBA’s leading all-time scorer last season.
He said: “I don’t care how many more points I score, or what I can or cannot do on the floor.
“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.”
James is a 19-time All-Star and averaged 28.9 points and 8.3 rebounds per game over 55 appearances last season.
The Akron native agreed a two-year extension with the Lakers in the 2022 offseason.
He will earn a base salary of $47.6million in 2023, with a player option for the 2024-25 season.