LeBron James Announces He's Not Retiring During 2023 ESPY Awards Honor: 'I Still Got Something Left'

LeBron James
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

The NBA legend was presented with the Best Record-Breaking Performance award during Wednesday's show.

LeBron James isn't done playing ball just yet. The NBA icon was honored at the 2023 ESPY Awards on Wednesday, where he addressed reports that he's considering retiring.

LeBron, 38, was presented with the Best Record-Breaking Performance Award during the star-studded ceremony -- in recognition of his show-stopping basketball season during which he broke the NBA's all-time scoring record.

The award was presented by his wife, Savannah James, and their three children -- sons Bronny, 18, and Bryce, 16, and daughter Zhuri, 8. 

LeBron was all smiles as he took to the stage and started his acceptance speech with a message of love for his family.

"I wanted to start off by thanking my beautiful wife Savannah," he shared, explaining that "for our family, no one has sacrificed more or put in more hard work than you and I appreciate you for that. I love you."

He also addressed his kids, sharing, "It means so much to me to have you guys up here on stage... Thank you, guys, for being amazing kids, all three of you. The greatest blessing of my life."

LeBron then went on to address the elephant in the room -- specifically, reports and his past comments that suggested that he's been considering retirement. 

"When the season ended, I said I wasn't sure if I was gonna keep playing," he recalled. "I'm here now, speaking for myself. In that moment, [I was] asking myself if I can still play without cheating the game. Can I give everything to the game still? The truth is, I've been asking myself this question at the end of the season for a couple years now, I just never openly talked about it."

"The real question for me is, 'Can I play without cheating the game?' The day I can't give the game everything on the floor is the day I'll be done," he continued, before smiling wryly. "Luckily for you guys, today is not that day."

The announcement elicited a cheer of excitement from the crowd and LeBron added excitedly, "I still got something left. A lot left! I love you all and thank you so much for watching this journey thus far."

Back in May, the Los Angeles Lakers star was visibly disappointed during a post-game press conference after the Lakers lost to the Denver Nuggets in the 2023 West Conference, missing out on a championship win.

When asked about his future with the Lakers, LeBron remained vague at first, saying, "I haven't begun to even think about next year. We had a great run but we fell short of our goal and our goal is to win championships. That's what this franchise is about, so that's disappointing."

Calling this past season "very challenging," LeBron added, "I don't like to say it was a successful year because I don't play for anything besides winning championships at this point in my career. I don't get a kick out of making a conference appearance. I've done it a lot. It's not fun to me to not be able to get to the finals."

Though he still has a love for the game, LeBron admitted to having some reservations about the next step in his career.

"We'll see what happens going forward, but I don't know. I've got a lot to think about, to be honest," he said. "I got a lot to think about. Just personally, with me moving forward with the game of basketball, I got a lot to think about."

Clearly, he's thought about it and wants to give the championship another run in the coming season.

Check out the 2023 ESPYs winner's list to see all of Wednesday's recognized athletes.