Tom Brady returns 'a small piece' of LeBron James
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback has u-turned on his announcement of retirement earlier in the year, one that impacted on the Los Angeles Lakers star.
Back in February, LeBron James was left stunned by Tom Brady's decision to bring his storied NFL career to an end, going as far as saying that "a small piece of me definitely left." So Sunday's decision to play another season, his 23rd in total, will come as some very welcome news for the LA Lakers superstar.
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But several weeks ago, after a few days of speculation, Brady announced that he was calling time on his long career at the age of 44. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback decided he could no longer commit himself 100 per cent to the sport. His retirement saw tributes pour in from all over the sporting world, such has been his impact on the NFL – he holds the record for the most Super Bowl wins (seven) and Super Bowl MVP awards (five).
James learned about the news after returning to NBA action following a five-game absence, starring with a triple-double as the Los Angeles Lakers sealed an overtime 122-115 win over the New York Knicks, and afterwards he joined the praise for Brady. The four-time NBA MVP got a little emotional in response to Brady's retirement, lauding him as one of his inspirations.
The moment Tom Brady retired
"I personally was just so in shock when I saw it," he said post-game. "I was one of the ones who didn't say anything when the first, initial announcement came out. I didn't retweet anything, say anything because I wanted to hear it come from him. Then when he came out with his announcement, I was like… You know?
"As a guy who's kind of been my motivation factor over the last few years, seeing what he's able to do at his age and always kind of being a leader of a team.
"Even at his age, people still gravitate towards him and gravitate towards his energy, and how he prepares and things of that nature.
"So, a small piece of me definitely left when Brady decided to retire, that's for sure."
Good news then for Lakers fans as they eye a winning run in their own season, with their star man back to 100% completeness.