EL SEGUNDO -- LeBron James said Monday he will dedicate his 21st season in the NBA to his eldest son Bronny, who continues to make a successful recovery from a cardiac arrest.
The 38-year-old James briefly contemplated walking away from basketball at the end of last season following the Los Angeles Lakers loss to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference finals.
But James' thoughts of retirement were short-lived and he is now gearing up for another campaign that he hopes will culminate in a fifth NBA championship ring.
James said the health scare involving Bronny, who collapsed suddenly during training with his college basketball team in Los Angeles in July, had given him a renewed sense of perspective.
"Nothing else matters besides my family," James told reporters at the Lakers training base in El Segundo.
"Obviously I'm going to dedicate this season to Bronny because of the incident that happened. Understanding that just puts everything into perspective.
"No matter what's going on, the only thing that matters is your family. To see what he had to go through over the last few months, it has been a lot. I can only imagine how it has been for him, because it has been a lot for me, and a lot for our family."
James said Bronny was now "doing extremely well" and was aiming to play college basketball for the University of Southern California this season.
"He has begun his rehab process to get back on the floor this season," James said. "He's on the up and up. It's definitely a whirlwind and a lot of emotions for our family this summer."
James signed off from the 2022-2023 post-season by revealing that he was mulling a shock retirement.
However, he said Monday that he had been persuaded to continue his career after "conversations with my family and conversations with myself."
"I feel like I've got a lot more in the tank to give," James said.
Referring to his end-of-season retirement hint, which came after the Lakers had been swept by Denver, James explained: "At that moment I was exhausted, I was tired, mentally I was in too many different places. So that's what drew that comment at that moment.
"But I'm happy to return for another season and hopefully leading this team to the promised land."
James, however, was more circumspect when asked whether this season could be his last.
"I don't know," he said. "I'm happy right now and I'm excited, looking forward to getting going in training camp tomorrow.
"But I don't know what the end of the road or this season is going to look like. I have no idea."
James, meanwhile, believes the Lakers are well-positioned to challenge for a championship after retaining the core of the roster that fell just short last season after a late charge.
"I'm very optimistic about how we can pick up from there," James said. "With the continuity and the chemistry, there shouldn't be much teaching. We're returning a lot of our core. We have a lot of guys that know the system that can pick up where we left off.
"I'm excited about us returning our core and bringing in a lot of very, very good players. But there's no substitution for work and we have to put in the work.
"If we do that, we'll give ourselves a chance to compete every single night at the highest level."
© Agence France-Presse