Is LeBron Already A Top 10 Player All-Time?

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Jun 24, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James rides through downtown Miami during the Heat Championship celebration parade. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

When we take a look at his individual accomplishments, there aren’t many that can compare to him. His 4 MVP awards in the regular season are tied for 3rd most all time. He was “The Decision” away from possibly winning 5 in a row. He has been named to the All-NBA First Team 7 times (2005-06; 2007-present), the All-NBA Defensive First Team 5 times (2008-present), and lead the scoring once (2007-08; 30.0 PPG). His 2 NBA Finals MVP’s make him only 1 of 10 to win the award multiple times.

LeBron’s playoffs/championship resume is a tricky one to quantify. On one hand, we can speak of his failures. The 2007 NBA Finals was ugly but forgivable. The shortcomings in 2008, 2009, and 2010 were all puzzling as well. The 2011 NBA Finals were among the strangest and mind boggling events in the NBA’s history. On the other hand, he’s had spots of brilliance that we’d be remiss to forget. His run through the 2007 playoffs was amazing. The 2009 series against Orlando (38.5 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 8.0 APG) was one of the greatest one man performances we have ever seen. His championship runs of 2012 and 2013 were phenomenal in their own right. He’s had a lot of ups, and some downs as well, like the other greats. But living in this social media age, where criticisms come every second, his failures are overblown and his successes are underappreciated. 4 Finals trips in 10 years is nothing to sneeze at, yet we treat it as if it’s commonplace given his talent.

Another myth that about LeBron that needs to be dispelled is that he is not “clutch”. This couldn’t be any further from the truth. He hasn’t always made the buzzer beating shot, but he has had many big-time performances in must win games:

  • Game 5 of the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals against Detroit. He recorded 48 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists on the road in a game his team had to have.
  • There was Game 4 in the 2012 Eastern Conference Semifinals against Indiana. Down 2 games to 1, with Dwyane Wade struggling, he recorded 40 points, 18 rebounds, and 9 assists in a win, on the road again, to get the Heat back on track.
  • With the Heat’s backs against the wall again, and the fate of the Big 3 hanging in the balance, he delivered again. Down 3 games to 2, LeBron ripped the hearts out of the Celtics fathful with 45 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 assists.
  • Facing another Finals series loss, he came up with another big game in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals. He scored 18 points in the 4th quarter/OT, en route to a triple double (32 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds) as he forced a Game 7.
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