Charles Barkley Has Simple Reason for Wanting LeBron James to Retire Soon

Charles Barkley explained why he hopes Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James retires from the NBA soon.
Charles Barkley explained why he hopes Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James retires from the NBA soon. / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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As Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James mulls an uncertain future, there's one respected NBA voice who hopes he decides to call it quits soon.

TNT analyst, Inside the NBA personality and Hall of Famer Charles Barkley, during an appearance on former NFL star and ESPN analyst Shannon Sharpe's podcast Club Shay Shay this past Wednesday, explained why he hopes James, who left his future up in the air following the Lakers' elimination from the playoffs this past week, announces his retirement sooner rather than later.

"I hope he retires soon because I hated the way I retired," Barkley said.

Barkley, to the amusement of Sharpe, then recalled his own realization of when it was time to stop playing professional basketball.

"I remember telling myself my last two years, 'Ok, I'm going to get myself in great shape, I'm going to have a good year, then I'm going to retire.'" "Then I figured out, like, playing against air... Everybody is good against air. Everybody is great against air," Barkley said, going on to explain that he just couldn't compete against younger players anymore.

Barkley finally explained that he hopes James "retires while he can still play."

James, who will turn 40 in December, declined to answer when asked about his plans for the 2024-25 season following the Lakers' loss to the Denver Nuggets last week. The four-time NBA champion surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the NBA's all-time scoring list during the 2022-23 season, then proceeded to average 25.7 points, 8.3 assists and 7.3 rebounds per game while shooting 54 percent from the field in 71 games played this season.

In short, James is still playing at a very high level. But Barkley's comments are undoubtedly food for thought for the Akron, Ohio native.

Tim Capurso


Tim Capurso is a Staff Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. Previously he wrote for RotoBaller and ClutchPoints, where he was the lead editor for MLB, College Football and NFL coverage. A lifelong Yankees and Giants fan, Tim grew up just outside New York City and now lives near Philadelphia. When he's not writing, Tim enjoys reading, exercising and spending time with his family, including his three-legged cat Willow, who, unfortunately, is an Eagles fan.