Charles Barkley Photo Credit: Club Shay Shay Podcast

The Los Angeles Lakers’ 2023-24 season came to a disappointing end with a first-round series loss to the Denver Nuggets in the NBA Playoffs. Now, the Lakers-related focus turns to the future of LeBron James.

James, who turns 40 on Dec. 30, has one year left on his contract with the Lakers but has the ability to opt out and become a free agent this offseason. He’ll be coming off a season in which he averaged 25.7 points, 8.3 assists, and 7.3 rebounds, while shooting 54.0% from the field (50.6% for his career), a career-best 41.0% from three-point range (34.8% career), and 75.0% from the free-throw line (73.6% career).

However, one former NBA star and current TV star thinks James should consider retiring from the NBA soon.

Charles Barkley appeared on a recent edition of the Club Shay Shay podcast with Shannon Sharpe and explained why he hopes James “retires soon.”

“I hope he retires soon because I hated the way I retired- because I sucked… Your ego says you can still do it… I hope he retires while he can still play. Because, man, I’ve been there myself. I saw Patrick Ewing on his last legs. I saw Michael Jordan playing with the Wizards. That’s the greatest player I’ve played against; I don’t want to see him doing that with the Wizards. So, I don’t want to see any great players play when they’re past their prime.”

Barkley, now a TNT Sports analyst on Inside the NBA, retired after 16 NBA seasons at the age of 37. In his final season (1999-2000), he averaged 14.5 points and 10.5 rebounds with the Houston Rockets, but he only played 20 games due to a leg injury. After 11 straight NBA All-Star selections, Barkley was left out of the game in his final three seasons.

James is still playing at a superstar level, but the decline can hit rapidly for an athlete approaching 40. And it’s possible he wants to go out while his game and health are still in good shape.

Stay with the Lakers? Sign with another NBA team? Try to play with his son Bronny, whether it’s with the Lakers or elsewhere? Retire?

LeBron has plenty of options this offseason, and it will be interesting to see what he chooses.

[Club Shay Shay on YouTube]

About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

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