LeBron James

Nikola Jokić and the Denver Nuggets put the finishing touches on their Western Conference Finals sweep of LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night.

Afterward, the 38-year-old James hinted at retirement for the first time in his 20-year NBA career.

While the news certainly caught the league by surprise—James has talked about playing in the NBA with his son, Bronny, for years—ESPN reporter Dave McMenamin spoke with a source close to James immediately after the contest.

That source shed light on James’ thinking around his retirement.

“I spoke to a source close to LeBron after I walked out of the arena, and I told him what LeBron had just told me, and he kind of walked through the playoffs with me, he’s like, ‘Man, LeBron really felt the effects of the travel and the physicality in the first round against Memphis.’

“Then he said, ‘The second round against Golden State brought back some old demons about all those finals matchups they had that LeBron was on the losing side on a few of them and that was an emotional toll that it took on him, but then you get through Golden State, and you feel like you’ve had everything you had to give, you left it on the court against the Denver Nuggets, and you still get swept.”

Only time will tell if James calls it a career. He is already going down as one of the game’s greats and certainly has nothing left to prove.

[Lakers Lead; photo from Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports]