LeBron James said he hopes the current state of the Los Angeles Lakers won’t be a recurring theme for the rest of his NBA days.
“I don’t want to end my career at this level, from a team perspective,” said the Lakers star after Wednesday’s 112-98 loss to the Miami Heat Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. “I still want to be able to fight for championships because I know what else I can bring to any ball club with the right pieces.”
James led Los Angeles with 27 points and nine rebounds while playing 34 minutes on Wednesday. His six assists in the loss placed only second on the team behind Russell Westbrook. Despite James’ performance, the club fell back to 14-21 in the season. The Lakers are now five games away from a top-six starting spot and three away from break-in pace.
However, LA can hardly blame James, who turns 38 on Friday, for his predicament. The four-time MVP is averaging 27.8 points, eight rebounds, 6.6 assists and 1.1 steals in his 20th NBA campaign. James has also remained relatively healthy, missing just eight games all season, with an adductor strain keeping him sidelined for five contests, which was his only lengthy absence.
Darvin Ham’s side are struggling to stay afloat without James’ co-star Anthony Davis, who is left without a schedule after suffering a stress injury to his foot. But even with Davis healthy, the Lakers only went 10-14 with the big man in the lineup.
With or without Davis, James said he wasn’t content to let a season go to waste.
“I’m a winner and I want to win,” he said when asked how much longer he wanted to play Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group. “And I want to win and give myself a chance to win and still fight for championships. This has always been my passion; that has always been my goal since I joined the league as an 18-year-old boy from Akron, Ohio.
“And I know it takes a few steps to get there, but once you get there and you know how to get there, playing basketball at that level just to play basketball isn’t in my DNA. It’s not in my DNA anymore. So, we’ll see what happens and see how fresh my spirit stays over the next few years.”
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