No matter how well LeBron James fares in the postseason from now until the end of his already legendary career, there will continue to be doubters and naysayers who overanalyze his record in the NBA Finals (currently 3-4) and put more emphasis on the number in the loss column.
Regardless of that, James-led rosters continuously find themselves competing in late June, and as he himself acknowledges, his ongoing streak of seven straight appearances in the big dance – paired with the number of years he’s been atop the league as its best player – will only give the basketball world more reasons to remember him when it’s all said and done.
“I think it’s going to be great for my legacy, once I’m done playing the game and can look back on the game and say, ‘Oh, this guy went to three straight Finals, four straight Finals, five, six whatever,'” James said, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “I think it’s great to be talked about, see what I was able to accomplish as an individual.
“When you talk about longevity and being able to just play at a high level for a long period of time, and I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to do that and be a part of two franchises that … being able to take two franchises to four Finals apiece … no one has ever done that either, so I’m always happy and proud. … I’ve always been proud to be part of the biggest stage in our league, and it’s the Finals.”
The only other players who can boast about playing in the Finals as many times consecutively as James are ex-Boston Celtics players from the 1950s and ’60s (K.C. Jones, Sam Jones, Frank Ramsey, Bill Russell, Tom Heinsohn, and Bob Cousy), as well as James Jones (who didn’t actually see the floor in 2011 against the Dallas Mavericks, mind you).
Along with this being The King’s seventh Finals in a row, this year’s series also marks the third time in as many years that his Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors will square off – the first the same two teams have done so in NBA history.