LeBron to play in historic 10th NBA FinalsDate: September 30, 2020
By: Nick Masturzo
Is LeBron James the greatest NBA player of all time? Such a question is highly debatable, but James has definitely made a case for himself. He will be playing against his former team, the Miami Heat, in his 10th NBA Finals after the Los Angeles Lakers knocked out the Denver Nuggets in five games in the Western Conference Finals. He will be just the fourth player in NBA history to do so, behind Bill Russell, Sam Jones, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
This series will also mark James’ third team and fifth coach to be going to the Finals with him. He has previously gone to the Finals five times with the Cleveland Cavaliers on two different stints with the team and four consecutive times with the Heat. This will be his first time appearing in the series as a Laker.
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At the age of just 22 and already in what was his fourth year with the league, James started his Finals legacy in 2007 with the Cavaliers under head coach Mike Brown. His youth and Finals inexperience may had made the difference though as the San Antonio Spurs swept James and the Cavs in four games. This was one of only two times that James got swept in the Finals, both coming with the Cavs. The other came in 2018 against the Golden State Warriors during his second stint with the team. A Finals sweep has never gone in James’ favor.
James would not return to the Finals until 2011 against the Dallas Mavericks with the Heat under head coach Erik Spoelstra, who will now lead James’ opposition. Little did James, or anyone else, know that this would be the start of a run in which he would make eight straight appearances in the Finals from 2011 to 2018. He would be under Spoelstra’s wing for the first four before returning to the Cavs in 2015. With the Cavs, he went to another four Finals, all of which were against the Warriors.
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Overall, LeBron has lost more Finals series than he has won and only has three rings. Two of them were back-to-back with the Heat against the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2012 and the Spurs in 2013. The other came with the Cavs in 2016 against the Warriors after having been down three games to one in the series. This was the first and thus far the only time in NBA history that a team has come back from such a deficit in the Finals. In all three series, LeBron was named the Finals MVP.
LeBron also holds many Finals records and high ranks in regard to his stats. All-time, he has the most total defensive rebounds and triple-doubles in the Finals and is second in made three-pointers, assists, steals, and points. He is also the only player in NBA history to average a triple-double in the Finals. James accomplished this feat in 2017 against the Warriors despite having lost the series four games to one.
James is no stranger to the NBA Finals and has certainly made a lot of history in them. He has even already made history in this year’s series before even playing a second on the court. Will he make even more history by the series’ end? Will he win his fourth ring and first with the Lakers? Tune into the 2020 NBA Finals on ABC to find out.
Nick Masturzo can be reached at email@example.com.