The King captured 4 NBA titles with 3 different franchises: Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Los Angeles Lakers. Even if The King’s biggest critics will point to the fact that The King needed to continuously join forces with other superstars to win championships, he still performed when in the brightest moments. Even when playing alongside Hall of Fame talents in Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, and Anthony Davis, LeBron James was always the best player for his teams during his 4 championship runs with each franchise. Even if James currently has a losing Finals record at 4-6, James’ accomplishments in the Finals are extraordinary. Of course, he went 2-2 in the Finals as a member of the Heat but the 2012-2014 versions of James might be the single most dominant player we have ever seen in terms of athleticism, basketball IQ, and impact.
James also captured the biggest achievement of his career with his hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. The King did the impossible when he led Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, and the rest of the roster past the Golden State Warriors despite trailing 3-1 in the Finals. The Cavaliers were the most talented team in the East, but they were not supposed to beat a 73-9 squad led by Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. By doing the impossible, James had his best Finals performance as his third championship took his stock as an all-time great player to another level. In typical LeBron James fashion, he did not settle where he was and looked for a new chance to win his 4th championship. The Akron-born star would shatter NBA news outlets when he opted to sign with the famous Los Angeles Lakers franchise, a move that was considered polarizing.
Avid Lakers fans refused to accept The King in town, going as far as to deface murals of the player across Los Angeles. It is expected, after all, considering James was Kobe Bryant’s biggest rival when both were competing as the two best players in the league. After missing the playoffs in the first season of his career with the Lakers, James won an NBA title once the franchise brought in All-Star Anthony Davis. With a pairing built on size and skill, no team stood a chance against the talented Lakers squad. Completing another Finals run with a different team was incredibly impressive because James always seems to raise the level of those around him. James has been the most successful active player because of the way he carries teams whether he is surrounded by talent or not. The King is currently the best winner in the NBA because 4 championships and 4 Finals MVPs are no easy feat.
4 MVP Awards
LeBron James might be the greatest regular-season performer in NBA history because 4 MVPs come as a result of his ability to impact the game in almost every area. The King holds a career regular-season average of 27.1 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 7.4 APG, 1.6 SPG, and 0.8 BPG over his illustrious 19-season career. James has also captured 4 MVP Awards as a result of his greatness, 2 with the Cavaliers and 2 with the Miami Heat.
His first MVP season came in 2009 with the Cavs, when he averaged 28.4 PPG, 7.6 RPG, and 7.2 APG on 48.9% shooting. That season ended without a championship, however. The following year, with the Cavs, James averaged 29.7 PPG, 7.3 RPG, and 8.6 APG on 50.3% shooting from the field. Without a doubt, even if he wasn’t winning titles, James was staking his claim as the most dominant player in the league.
The next two MVP awards came in 2012 and 2013, following the spectacular season by Derrick Rose in 2011. James was the best physical and mental talent in the league, dominating the court with both of those attributes. The King averaged 27.1 PPG, 7.9 RPG, and 6.2 APG on 53.1% shooting in 2012, followed by averages of 26.8 PPG, 8.0 RPG, and 7.3 APG on 56.5% shooting from the field. Of course, both seasons resulted in two championships. As great as James was in Cleveland the first go around, his dominance as a player with the Heat in 2012 and 2013 was arguably his best years as a player.
James has been the best player over the last decade at a minimum, and he could have realistically won at least 6 MVPs or possibly more. But the 4 MVP Awards is an incredible number that will be hard to surpass by any player, no matter how great they might be. While LeBron’s 4 championships are the most important part of his resume, 4 MVPs add an incredible boost to an already Hall of Fame career.
4 Finals MVP Awards
LeBron has a 4-6 Finals record, but each victory resulted in a Finals MVP for The King. LeBron was the undisputed best player on the floor for all his Finals successes because he impacted the game on every level better than anyone else. Looking at his Finals stats during each series, it is very easy to see how impactful LeBron was. Of course, basketball is played on a court and not on the stat sheet, but James was great in both areas. After The King suffered the biggest collapse by a superstar in the 2011 Finals by only averaging 17.8 PPG on 47.8% FG and 32.1% 3-PT FG, he woke up to destroy the opposition over the next two years.
In 2012, James averaged 28.6 PPG, 10.2 RPG, and 7.4 APG on 47.2% shooting against the Oklahoma City Thunder for his first Finals MVP. The following season, The King averaged 25.3 PPG, 10.9 RPG, 7.0 APG, and 2.3 SPG on 44.7% shooting for his second straight Finals MVP. No doubt about it, the Oklahoma City Thunder were not ready to handle an angry and motivated LeBron James who embraced the villain role in the league. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden were elite talents, but they were far too young to handle the experience of James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh.
James’ performance in the 2016 Finals was arguably even more impressive, as he put up videogame numbers to come back from a 3-1 deficit against the 73-9 Golden State Warriors. James was on point in the 2016 Finals when he put up a monster 29.7 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 8.9 APG, 2.6 SPG, and 2.3 BPG on 49.4% shooting from the field. Coming back from 1-3 was incredible and he had himself the best Finals stat line in his career. Of course, we were also blessed with key moments including “The Block” on Andre Iguodala in Game 7.
With the Lakers in 2020, James took what Anthony Davis and the rest of the roster gave him and destroyed the Miami Heat on both ends of the floor. The King put up 29.8 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 8.5 APG, 1.2 SPG, and 0.5 BPG on 59.1% shooting from the field. Many will claim that James was easily the best player in the series, but Jimmy Butler was at his best by posting 26.2 PPG, 8.3 RPG, and 9.8 APG. The showdown between the two stars was exciting to watch, but James earned his 4th Finals MVP regardless.