Contrary to popular opinion, James has played his best basketball when the stakes have been the highest.
On his way to winning his second straight NBA Finals MVP, James averaged 25.3 points, 10.9 rebounds and seven assists for the series. The King is the only player in the league’s history average 25/10/7 in a Finals, and he also did it in 2012.
That’s not enough for you?
James also played his best game of the playoffs in Game 7. He scored 37 points on 12-of-23, including 5-of-10 from 3-point range, to go with 12 rebounds and four assists.
Let’s put to bed the question of whether James is clutch or not. He’s the most clutch player on earth and the numbers bear that out. After defeating the San Antonio Spurs in the Finals, LeBron has now tallied two NBA titles, two Finals MVPs and four NBA MVPs in 10 seasons. That’s not bad for a guy who doesn’t turn 29 until December.
Besides James, here’s a list of players to win four NBA MVPs: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six), Michael Jordan (five), Bill Russell (five) and Wilt Chamberlain (four).
Could LeBron become the first player in NBA history to win seven MVP awards? It’s by no means out of the question.
Jordan didn’t win his fourth MVP award until 1992-93 when he was 33-years-old. Of course, Michael Jordan took home the Larry O’Brien trophy as well as the series MVP in each of his six finals. As you well know, James’ teams lost his first two NBA Finals. In 2010-11, James’ first season with the Heat, Miami suffered a crushing 4-2 defeat to the Dallas Mavericks. The “Big Three” have bounced back with two straight NBA titles.
Michael Jordan has set the bar so high that no player will ever reach those heights, but LeBron James has come the closest.
Sure, Kobe Bryant has won five NBA titles, but he often played second fiddle to Shaquille O’Neal on a number of Los Angeles Lakers’ titles. LeBron has always been the lead dog. Just ask Dwyane Wade. Bryant won his lone NBA MVP award in 2008 when he was 30-years-old. There’s simply no doubt that LeBron will pass Kobe among the list of NBA greats, if he hasn’t already.
After Miami’s triumph on Thursday night, ESPN analyst and NBA great Magic Johnson said, “the only question left is will LeBron become the best ever to play?”
That answer is still to be determined, but he’s certainly in the conversation.