Why LeBron’s Finals Record STILL Matters…Sort Of

Last week, I wrote about why LeBron’s Finals record (which stood at 2-4 at the time) mattered, despite what anyone else may say. My point was that we evaluate and rank players based on their performance and achievements. While some achievements or stats are more important than others, a player’s record in the Finals, and therefore, how many Championships he has, is not something you can push to the side as if it didn’t matter. If it didn’t matter, players wouldn’t fight so hard to win and we wouldn’t heap so much praise on players that do win. While a 2-4 Finals record didn’t make LeBron a terrible player (he could still be considered an all-time great), it was a relevant talking point when deciding where exactly he ranks.

Since then, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers pulled off the biggest upset in NBA history, beating Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors, who had won a record 73 games, in Game 7 on the road.

Photo: Keith Allison
Photo: Keith Allison

LeBron (deservedly) won Finals MVP and solidified his legend as one of the greatest players this league has ever seen.

His Finals record now stands at 3-4, still a losing record. And it still matters.

Sort of.

As I said in my original article, a player’s achievements will always matter, for better or worse. Prior to Game 7, in LeBron’s case, it was for worse. It meant that, while LeBron had immense talent and ability, he seemed to fall short more than he rose to the occasion. While this didn’t make him a terrible player, it kept him further away from “Jordan status” than most fans would admit to.

Now, after Game 7 and LeBron’s third Championship and Finals MVP, his Finals record isn’t so much a black mark as it is a faded asterisk – originally written with deep ink but brushed over with enough layers of whiteout to make it barely visible. It’s still a losing record, but it’s safe to say he’s done enough to work his way into even the most obstinate LeBron-hater’s top 10 list.

So, where exactly does LeBron rank on the all-time list? Well, we’ll probably save that for another video. However, when ranking him, we will take into consideration his Finals record, just like we would for anyone else.

Here’s the question: Where would YOU rank LeBron on your all-time list? Has he cracked your top 10 or have you had him at number 1 for a while?

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2 thoughts on “Why LeBron’s Finals Record STILL Matters…Sort Of

  1. Tong Zou says:

    Top 5 for me. I have 1. MJ 2. Kareem 3. Wilt 4. Magic and 5. Lebron. At this point, Magic and Lebron are roughly equal. Magic won more championships but definitely had a better team throughout his career. Magic just like Lebron was a do everything guy, but Magic was the better passer while Lebron was the better defender. Both have 3 Finals MVPs while Lebron has 1 more MVP. They are interchangeable. The fact that Lebron won championships with 2 different franchises while still being the leading superstar is something only Kareem has done.
    I definitely think he has surpassed Kobe at this point, and in my eyes he has surpassed Duncan and Russell as well. Even though Russell has 11 championships he played with a great HOFer team with weak competition in his era. Lebron went to SIX straight finals in the modern era. That just can’t be matched. and beat a 73 win historic team.

    Like

    1. Sydney Leigh says:

      Without giving it much thought, I’d have to agree that LeBron is above Duncan and Russell in my book. If anything, LeBron and Duncan are equal. Both had great players around them, but still excelled and won.

      Like

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