Newly Unveiled Photo of LeBron James Signals He’s Not Retiring Soon, Affirms High School Teammates: ‘His Mission Continues’

The James’ high school — and current — BFFs tell PEOPLE they don’t think the Los Angeles Lakers star is calling it a career just yet.image

The sports world was shocked when LeBron James hinted at a possible retirement after the Lakers’ playoff elimination this season. Still, the NBA superstar’s close friends tell PEOPLE they don’t think he’s done playing basketball just yet.

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Akron natives Dru Joyce II, Willie McGee, Sian Cotton and Romeo Travis played alongside James, 38, at St. Vincent – St. Mary High when the NBA star began his rise to fame. The group, otherwise known as the Fab Five, is still tight to this day.

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“It’s so much more than basketball. This group is the reason I’m here today,” says Travis, 38.

In the new film Shooting Stars, the group’s high school years in Akron, Ohio, playing basketball and navigating James’ newfound fame are depicted onscreen.

As some of James’ closest confidants, the former athletes’ insight into his next career move might be the most reliable, aside from the NBA star himself.

Travis says, “I feel like he still has work to do, with his mentality and all that, his work isn’t done.”image

Travis tells PEOPLE his conversation with James just a day earlier further convinces him that the Lakers star wants to keep playing. “I talked to him yesterday and asked what he’s doing today, you know, he said he was working out.”

James’ cryptic comments about retirement came as a surprise to fans after multiple mentions from the athlete that he wants to play alongside his son, Bronny in the NBA once the 18-year-old is draft-eligible in 2024.

“We’ll see what happens going forward,” the four-time NBA MVP said when his team’s season ended on May 22. “I don’t know. I don’t know. I’ve got a lot to think about, to be honest. … Just for me personally going forward with the game of basketball.”

Travis says that James’ wish to play with Bronny “is definitely part of why,” the NBA champion’s comments do not convince him.

Moreover, Travis said he’d be surprised that his former teammate would leave the NBA with “no preparation” ahead of the announcement. “He’s not finished, nah.”image

McGee, 38, agrees. “I don’t believe it. I think that was a hard loss and I think he left everything out there,” he says of the Lakers’ disappointing series against the NBA Finals-bound Denver Nuggets.

“I felt that bar he dropped by Jay-Z though,” Cotton, 38, adds, citing the rapper’s lyric that James posted on social media. “‘I’m supposed be number one on everybodys list. We’ll see what happens when I no longer exist,’ I felt him on that, but I don’t believe he’s retiring. Not yet.”

Shooting Stars premieres June 2 on Peacock.

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