ATLANTA, USA – In a lighthearted moment after the Game 4 loss to the Denver Nuggets, LeBron James was asked about the Carmelo Anthony retirement announcement.
“Well, I kind of knew the announcement was going to happen because I shot the video a week ago that you guys seen today,” James said which elicited laughter in the media room.
“So, people probably think I’m lying about that, too, huh? I shot that video like a week ago, so I already knew the announcement was coming. I just didn’t know which day, but it happened today.”
“So, definitely just a bittersweet moment today to see one of my great friends. I never say call it quits, just to say that, you know, it’s an amazing run. An amazing accomplishment. An amazing career. And you know, we’ll always be joined at the hip no matter what.”
James is the last player from the much-heralded 2003 NBA Draft Class. Anthony was picked third, and declared his retirement after 19 seasons.
Another friend Dwyane Wade, picked fifth, chose to retire in 2019 after 15 seasons and he will soon be inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame later this year.
Chris Bosh, a Miami Heat teammate and picked fourth, has already been inducted to the Class of 2021 in Springfield.
James continues to defy Father Time after concluding his 20th season with a superb playoff run.
However, he was non-committal about the future of his playing career.
When a reporter first asked him to evaluate the season, James was hesitant to give an answer.
“I really don’t. It’s not who I am. I guess I’ll reflect on my career when I’m done. But I don’t know. I’ll let you guys talk about it.”
“The only thing I concern myself with is being available to my teammates, and I don’t like the fact that I didn’t play as many games as I would’ve liked because of injury. That’s the only thing I care about is being available to my teammates.”
Denver Nuggets ‘one of the best teams’
James offered more insight about the series his Lakers team had against the Nuggets that had just concluded.
“Me and AD were just talking in the locker room for a little bit. I think we came to the consensus, this is one of the best teams, if not the best team, we’ve played together for all four years.”
“Just well-orchestrated, well put-together. They have scoring. They have shooting. They have play-making. They have smarts. They have length. They have depth.”
“And one thing about their team, when you have a guy like Jokic, who as big as he is but also as cerebral as he is, you can’t really make many mistakes versus a guy like that.”
“And even when you guard him for one of the best possessions that you think you can guard him, he puts the ball behind his head Larry Bird-style and shoots it 50 feet in the air and it goes in, like he did four or five times this series,” eliciting another laughter from the media room and then gesturing a tipping the hat motion.
Historic season retrospect
Eventually, another reporter was able to cajole James to evaluate his season, especially after beating Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the all-time scoring record.
“I love to play the game. I love to compete. I love to be out there for my guys, my teammates, whoever I have that particular year.”
“I think it was special in the fact that having a first-year coach, first-year coaching staff, to be able to take them to the Western Conference Finals, I think that’s dope for coach [Darvin] Ham and his coaching staff going forward. That’s pretty amazing,” James said.
“For me, it’s all about availability for me and keeping my mind sharp and things of that nature, being present on the floor, being present in the locker room and bus rides and plane rides, things of that nature.”
“It’s challenging. It’s challenging for sure,” he added. “It was a very challenging season for me, for our ballclub, and obviously we know whatever went on early on or whatever the case may be. It was cool, a pretty cool ride.”
“But I don’t know. I don’t know. I think it was okay. I don’t like to say it’s a successful year because I don’t play for anything besides winning championships at this point in my career.”
“You know, I don’t get a kick out of making a Conference [Finals] appearance. I’ve done it, a lot. And it’s not fun to me to not be able to be a part of getting to the Finals,” said James as he expressed a bit of frustration of coming up short.
“But we’ll see. We’ll see. We’ll see what happens going forward. I don’t know. I don’t know.” – Rappler.com
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