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LeBron James, in his 20th NBA season, on the Lakers ongoing struggles: ‘I’m a winner, I want to win’

Winning has mostly eluded the Los Angeles Lakers throughout the past couple of seasons.

Until recently, the Lakers seemed poised to go on a run largely due to eight-time All-Star Anthony Davis’ high-level of play. Shortly before Christmas though, the team learned that a stress fracture in Davis’ right foot would sideline him.

In Davis’ absence, Los Angeles has only managed to win two of their past seven games.

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LeBron James, #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers, speaks with the media during Los Angeles Lakers media day at UCLA Health Training Center on Sept. 26, 2022 in El Segundo, California.

LeBron James, #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers, speaks with the media during Los Angeles Lakers media day at UCLA Health Training Center on Sept. 26, 2022 in El Segundo, California.
(Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The Lakers’ latest defeat came against LaBron James’ former team, the Miami Heat. James had a productive night, scoring 27 points and grabbing nine rebounds during the contest.

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After the game, inside the arena where he played some of the best basketball of his prolific career, James was asked to shed some light on his future in the NBA

“I’m a winner, and I want to win,” James said. “And I want to win and give myself a chance to win and still compete for championships. That has always been my passion. That has always been my goal since I entered the league as an 18-year-old kid out of Akron, Ohio.

“And I know it takes steps to get there, but once you get there and know how to get there, playing basketball at this level just to be playing basketball is not in my DNA. It’s not in my DNA anymore. So we’ll see what happens and see how fresh my mind stays over the next couple years.”

Los Angeles Lakers forward dLeBron James, right, is defended by Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland, #10, during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, in Cleveland.

Los Angeles Lakers forward dLeBron James, right, is defended by Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland, #10, during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, in Cleveland.
(AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

When James opted out of his contract with the Cavaliers in the summer of 2018 and decided to sign with the Lakers, he was coming off eight straight appearances in the NBA Finals.

Since heading West, James has enjoyed some great successes. The Lakers made the playoffs in two of James’ first four seasons in Los Angeles, one of those trips to the postseason resulted in his fourth championship.

A little less than halfway through this season, the Lakers have a 14-21 record and are in the 13th spot in the Western Conference. The team certainly has time to turn things around, but their prospects of qualifying for the postseason seem slim.

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“I think about how much longer I’m going to play the game,” James continued. “I think about that I don’t want to finish my career playing at this level from a team aspect. I’ll still be able to compete for championships because I know what I can still bring to any ball club with the right pieces.

“I think about my son graduating high school soon, going off to college, and I’m still playing. My youngest son will be a junior next year — how much more time I’ll miss. So throughout the course of a day, to the weeks, to the months, I think about a little bit of everything, you know?”

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, #6, reacts after scoring against the Washington Wizards during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in Washington, D.C.

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, #6, reacts after scoring against the Washington Wizards during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in Washington, D.C.
(AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel)

Prior to the start of the 2022-23 season, James agreed to the terms of a two-year, $97.1 million extension with the Lakers.

The deal does include a player option for the 2024-25 season, meaning the four-time league MVP could enter free agency in the 2024 offseason.

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James will celebrate his 38th birthday on Dec. 30. He has previously voiced his desire to play in the NBA alongside his son, Bronny.


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