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LeBron puts up a youthful 40 points with nine 3s, then postgame talk turns to retirement

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Brooklyn Nets

Mar 31, 2024; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) runs up court after making a basket against the Brooklyn Nets during the second half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James is not playing like a guy who should be thinking about retirement.

Ignore the age. He’s averaging 25.2 points, 8.1 assists and 7.3 rebounds a game and the Lakers still go as he goes most nights — his energy fuels Lakers’ wins. He has been an All-NBA level player in his 21st year in the league at age 39.

LeBron was feeling on Easter Sunday, hitting nine 3-pointers (on 10 shot attempts) and scoring 40 to spark a Lakers 116-104 win in Brooklyn.

When LeBron is playing like this, he looks like he could play into his 50s, still somehow the topic of when he might retire came up postgame. LeBron realizes he’s much closer to the end than the beginning.

Here’s LeBron’s full answer when asked how much longer he will play.

“Not very long. Not very long. I’m on the other side, obviously, of the hill. So I’m not going to play another 21 years, that’s for damn sure. But not very long. I don’t know what or when that door will close as far as when I retire, but I don’t have much time left.”

He’s being honest and putting pressure on the Lakers’ front office. LeBron and Anthony Davis have had All-NBA-level seasons, but the Lakers are still the nine-seed and likely will have to win two games in the play-in just to make the playoffs. Rob Pelinka and company have to get a better team around him, one that can help carry the load in the regular season.

But when LeBron cranks it up in the playoffs, when he plays like he did on Easter Sunday, the Lakers are a threat to beat anyone.