LeBron James has been to The NBA Finals eight times during his 14-year career, including participating in the last seven championship rounds. After falling to the Warriors in the third chapter of their team’s trilogy, James now falls to 3-5 in the NBA Finals. A look back at all eight of his Finals appearances:
2007: San Antonio Spurs def. Cleveland, 4-0
The Cavaliers made a surprising run to their first NBA Finals on the back of LeBron James’ epic performance over the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Spurs were playing in their fourth Finals and the experience factor showed as San Antonio swept Cleveland. LeBron James averaged 22 points, 7 rebounds and 6.8 assists in the series.
2011: Dallas Mavericks def. Miami Heat, 4-2
The first year of the league’s latest Big 3 of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh ended with the Mavericks securing their first championship. James averaged 17.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 6.8 assists.
2012: Miami Heat def. Oklahoma City Thunder, 4-1
LeBron James finally gets his ring to cap off the lockout-shortened season as the Heat took down the Kevin Durant-led Thunder out in five games. James averaged 28.6 points, 10.2 rebounds and 7.4 assists to earn his first Finals MVP.
2013: Miami Heat def. San Antonio Spurs, 4-3
The Miami Heat became the sixth team in NBA history to win consecutive titles, but it was not easy. To get there, the Heat needed a Ray Allen 3-pointer late in Game 6 to force overtime as Miami beat San Antonio. They, they had to win in Game 7, which Miami eventually did. James was named Finals MVP after averaging 25.3 points, 10.9 rebounds and 7 assists.
Decade of Dominance
The 2017 postseason marks the 10th anniversary of LeBron James’ first run to The NBA Finals, when his play powered the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first championship series.
Since that 2007 Finals trip, James has been in The Finals six times, winning three championships in that span. He led the Cavs to the title in 2016 and, as the Cavs enter The 2017 Finals, we look back on how James’ seven career Finals appearances have shaped both his career and the NBA at large.
Part 1: LeBron James’ first Finals run in Cleveland
Part 2: LeBron James, Miami Heat take some Finals lumps
Part 3: LeBron James, Miami Heat climb to top of NBA heap
Part 4: Cleveland championship realized at long last for LeBron James
2014: San Antonio Spurs def. Miami Heat, 4-1
The Spurs avenge a heart-breaking Finals loss in 2016 by dominating the Heat in wha would prove to be the final games of LeBron James’ Heat career. Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard was named Finals MVP in San Antonio’s five-game series win. Meanwhile, James finished the series averaging 28.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4 assists.
2015: Golden State Warriors def. Cleveland Cavaliers, 4-2
In his first year back with the Cavaliers, LeBron James takes his young squad into the championship spotlight. But once again, James was denied a title as the Warriors earned the franchise’s first championship in 40 years. James was a dominant force averaging 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists.
2016: Cleveland Cavaliers def. Golden State Warriors, 4-3
“The King” finally delivered a championship to his home state of Ohio as James powered Cleveland’s improbable rally from a 3-1 series deficit. James, who was named Finals MVP, averaged 29.7 points, 11.3 rebounds, 8.9 assists, 2.3 blocks.
2017: Golden State Warriors def. Cleveland Cavaliers, 4-1
Five years after their first NBA Finals meeting, Kevin Durant returned to The Finals stage, this time with a different team, but a familiar foe to James. Durant proved to be too much for the Cavaliers as he was named Finals MVP.