We’ve reached June, which means that LeBron James is still playing basketball.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are set to take on the Golden State Warriors in an NBA Finals rematch. Remarkably, this is LeBron James’ sixth straight NBA Finals, two in a row with the Cavs after four straight with the Miami Heat.
Because it’s fun, we’re going to take a closer look into the teams LeBron has been to the Finals with, ranking them worst to first.
7. 2007 Cleveland Cavaliers (Lost Finals 4-0 to San Antonio Spurs)
This was the year that put LeBron on the map as a transcendent talent. At just 22, he led an extremely underwhelming team to the Finals. His starting lineup consisted of Eric Snow, Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas. As role players, that would be a great core group. However, relying on them to play heavy minutes is less than ideal, and it showed with a Finals sweep from the Spurs.
6. 2015 Cleveland Cavaliers (Lost Finals 4-2 to Golden State Warriors)
This team is placed here based on situation. Losing Kevin Love in the First Round and Kyrie Irving after Game 1 of the Finals, the expectations on this team dropped exponentially. Playing with house money, LeBron was able to win two games against one of the greatest single season teams of all-time and put up some impressive raw numbers in the process (36 points, 13 rebounds, nine assists per game.) Though commendable, it was still not enough to move the needle on this list.
5. 2011 Miami Heat (Lost Finals 4-2 to Dallas Mavericks)
This team was tricky to place, mainly due to being the only year that Dwyane Wade was completely healthy during the Big Three era. However, the team really rode the “us against the world” mentality of Wade, LeBron, and Chris Bosh trio. With a supporting cast that included guys like Mike Bibby, Carlos Arroyo and Erick Dampier, it’s a wonder how they were able to get so close in the first place.
4. 2014 Miami Heat (Lost Finals 4-1 to San Antonio Spurs)
A couple of things took place with this Finals team that led to their demise. The attrition of four straight Finals caught up to the team, but more importantly, the Spurs played some of the best basketball we’ve ever seen. Wade’s knees limited him heavily, the team’s depth wasn’t as good as it had been in years past, and the result showed that.
3. 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers (TBD)
On paper, this is one of LeBron’s deepest teams ever, and he’s been playing some of his best basketball. However, he’s going up against the greatest single-season team in NBA history. There’s a great chance for an amazing story to be written.
2. 2012 Miami Heat (Won Finals 4-1 over Oklahoma City Thunder)
A more determined LeBron led this team to the promised land. Game 4 at Indiana. Game 6 at Boston. Sure, Dwyane Wade had some big time playoff games. Mario Chalmers, Shane Battier, and Mike Miller also proved huge in the playoff/championship run, but this was the “Year of LeBron” for a reason.
1. 2013 Miami Heat (Won Finals 4-3 over San Antonio Spurs)
This was a team and a series for the ages. A 27-game win streak. Taken to a Game 7 by the Pacers. 28 seconds from being a major disappointment. The Shot. This was a team of great depth top to bottom and always operating on a belief that they would always find a way.