LeBron James: « I’m Still Better Than 90%’ of NBA Maybe 95 »

LeBron James

If LeBron James were to retire this offseason, then it probably wouldn’t be because he thought he lost much of a step relative to his peers.


James told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin he believes he’s « still better than 90 percent of the NBA » and « maybe 95. » The 19-time All-Star averaged 28.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 6.8 assists during the regular season. He also made at least half of his shots for the seventh time in eight years.

Therein lies why it’s tough to imagine James actually walking away from basketball this summer.

You can’t really argue with the 38-year-old’s point. His game is slowly declining with all of the injuries and mileage beginning to add up. And yet, he’s at worst still one of the 10 top players in the NBA, and he can attain a level few others can reach on his best night.

James finished with 40 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and two steals while playing all but four seconds in Monday’s 113-111 loss to the Denver Nuggets.

Of course, getting swept by the Nuggets is an obvious sign of his increasing mortality.

His 24.5 points per game this postseason were his third-lowest in the playoffs, and his 25.8 percent usage rate was a career low, per NBA.com.

There’s no shame in the Lakers losing to a better team, and it isn’t a negative reflection of their best player. A younger version of James might have been able to carry L.A. past Denver, though, through sheer force of will.

The all-conquering version of James fans are accustomed to seeing at this stage is gone and probably never coming back.

His Game 4 performance nonetheless spoke for itself. If he were to request a trade from the Lakers, then Los Angeles would likely have a line of teams out the door eager to discuss a swap.

With nothing left to prove in the sport, the four-time MVP might be content to retire. However, his comment to McMenamin speaks volumes about the competitive fire he maintains.


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