LeBron James Says His Kids Will Help Him Decide When He Will Retire

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LeBron James is having one of the best campaigns of his NBA career despite this being his 15th season in the league. It’s a remarkable feat, and the MVP candidate looks as good at age 33 as he did when he burst onto the scene as a teenager.

James’ longevity and consistent success on the court has always put off talk about what inevitably comes for every professional athlete: retirement. Even now it’s a bit difficult to imagine a struggling LeBron James, and his popularity is arguably as high as ever.

Maybe it’s the fine wine or just good luck, but it seems like retirement is still a long way off for King James. Still, the Cavaliers superstar says it might not be as simple as him deciding when it’s time to hang it up. James told USA Today that he can’t see an end to his career just yet, but that his kids will likely play a big role in him deciding when it’s time to retire.

James essentially said as his kids get older, the things that they want to do and the life that they want to lead begins to matter more than basketball.

“The only thing is with my kids getting older, that’s the only thing that kind of stops me from going as long as I’d like to,” James said before the Cavaliers played the Toronto Raptors. “I’ve got a 13-year-old son now (LeBron Jr.). He’s in the seventh grade. He’s a damn good basket player, too. On this road trip, I’ve already missed four of his games. That’s the thing that kind of sucks.

“I’ve got a 10-year-old boy (Bryce), 3-year-old girl (Zhuri). Daddy side kicks in sometimes. That will be a deciding factor in how long I want to play.”

It’s refreshing to hear an athlete talk practically about parenthood in this way. This is what happens to every person when they become a parent: suddenly the needs of another supersede your own. And while the sacrifices James may have to make for his family will pale in comparison to others in America and abroad, the decisions a parent makes are often very similar.

How long James decides to watch his son play basketball on tape delay is a very real factor in how long he plays in the NBA. But it still doesn’t seem like that decision is coming anytime soon. As James said elsewhere in the interview, he’s still “got too many sneakers to sell still.”