LeBron James gets a lot of criticism for his losing record in the Finals but if you took a deep look at some of the rosters he's had when he's made it to that stage, perhaps the narrative would be very different.
James entered the league in 2003 and immediately turned the Cleveland Cavaliers around. In fact, he led them to the NBA Finals in just his fourth season in the league. I'm talking about a 22-year-old offensive juggernaut leading a subpar team to basketball's ultimate stage.
Needless to say, the outcome was far from what he expected. They were swept by the San Antonio Spurs - all in their prime - and James, far from being praised, was doomed by the media and his detractors again.
So, just for the sake of the argument and to put in context how impressive it is to see LeBron still dominate the league in his 17th season, let's take a look at that 2006-07 Cleveland Cavaliers' team and where are they now:
Scott Pollard - Retired
Scott Pollard's NBA career was far from impressive. He did spend 11 years in the league and played for the Pistons, Kings, Pacers, Cavaliers, and Celtics before retiring at the end of the 2007-08 seasons.
He was on and off on TV as a color commentator. Later, he made a couple of cameos and pursuit a career in acting. Notably, he was also a part of the 36th season of the reality show Survivor. He averaged 4.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 0.4 assists per game over his career and won a ring with the Celtics.
Ira Newble - Retired
Ira Newble struggled to find many minutes with LeBron James at full steam. In fact, he played a grand total of one minute during the NBA Finals and his career didn't fare much better when he finally left the team.
Newble bounced around the NBA and other endeavors, mostly the IBA and the G-League. Throughout his career, he averaged 5.1 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 0.9 assists per game. He later worked as an assistant coach for several G-League teams but has been unemployed since 2016.
Shannon Brown - Retired
If you thought Scott Pollard and Ira Newble had it tough during the NBA Finals, well, Shannon Brown was on the court for just seconds. He left the team following a couple of seasons to play for the Bulls, Bobcats, Lakers, Suns, Spurs, Knicks, and Heat.
Brown was on and off the team's rotation. He was out of the league by 2014 and spent the last four years of his career in the G-League before finally retiring in 2018 with the Delaware 87ers. He averaged 7.6 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game and won a couple of chips.
Larry Hughes - Retired
Larry Hughes was a defensive specialist that could've come pretty handily for the Cleveland Cavaliers during their Finals run. However, he only made a couple of appearances and played a total of 44 minutes in that series vs. the Spurs.
Hughes played for the Sixers, Warriors, Wizards, Cavaliers, Bulls, Knicks, Bobcats, and Magic before retiring. He averaged 14.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 3.1 assists and led the league in steals in 2005 when he also made the All-Defensive team.
Eric Snow - Assistant Coach
Eric Snow was on the court do one thing and one thing only: get stops. However, his offensive repertoire was quite limited, to say the least, so he became a liability in the offensive end from time to time, especially vs. the Spurs in the NBA Finals.
Snow retired with the Cavaliers in 2008 after playing for the Sonics and Sixers. He averaged 6.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game and is now an assistant coach for the Texas Legends of the G-League.
Donyell Marshall - Coach
Donyell Marshall had a long career in the NBA. He didn't stand out from the pack because of his offensive skills but because of his grit and grind in both sides of the glass. Sadly, he was mostly a non-factor for the Cavaliers in that Finals series.
Marshall played for the Timberwolves, Warriors, Jazz, Bulls, Cavaliers, Sonics, and Sixers. He averaged 11.2 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game and is now the head coach of the Central Connecticut men's basketball team.
Damon Jones - Retired
Damon Jones was tailor-made to playing with the King. He could knock down three-pointers at a high clip and didn't need the ball on his hands to make the most of his damage. Still, his inconsistency made him fall on and off of the team's rotation.
Jones played for the Nets, Celtics, Warriors, Mavericks, Grizzlies, Pistons, Kings, Bucks, Heat, and Cavaliers. He also was the CBA's Scoring champion, played in China, Italy, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela. He later joined the Cavs' coaching staff and won a ring as an assistant coach, although he left the team in 2018.
Anderson Varejao - Retired
Anderson Varejao made a name for himself in the league for his endless energy in the offensive glass, his solid defense, and his infamous flopping. He was a nightly double-double threat for the Cavaliers and played a huge part in their Finals' run.
Varejao spent most of his career with the Cavs before joining the Golden State Warriors. Unluckily for him, he wasn't eligible to win a ring with them. He later returned to Brazil and retired with Flamengo after posting career averages of 7.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas - Retired
Zydrunas Ilgauskas is one of the most beloved players in Cleveland Cavaliers' history. He was also one of LeBron James' favorite teammates and the 'first true big man he ever played with', according to the King. He didn't reek of athleticism but he got the job done on both ends of the floor.
Ilgauskas spent most of his career with the Cavaliers before joining LeBron and the Heat for the final year of his career. He made 2 All-Star Games and averaged 13.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game. He later became an advisor for the Cavs and an assistant coach at Saint Ignatius High School.
Sasha Pavlovic - Executive
Sasha Pavlovic was also one of LeBron's best teammates. His three-point shooting skills always came through in the clutch and he never hesitated to put his body on the line in the defensive end either. He earned every single one of his minutes.
Pavlovic played for the Jazz, Cavaliers, Timberwolves, Mavericks, Hornets, Celtics, and Blazers before going back overseas to play in Europe. He's now a board member at Partizan Belgrade.
Daniel Gibson - Retired
Daniel Gibson spent his entire career with the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, said career didn't last that long at all. In fact, he was out of the league after just seven seasons, which is strange considering his great defensive skills and three-point shooting.
Gibson struggled to cope with the loss of his mother and retired due to depression and anxiety. He stayed close to the game, though, as he took a part in the Champions Basketball League in 2017. He left career averages of 7.8 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game.
Drew Gooden - Big 3
Drew Gooden underachieved throughout his career. He was the 4th overall pick in 2002 and made the All-Rookie team but his career took a major downfall after playing for the Cavaliers. His heart and effort were always there, and that's a fact, though.
Gooden was the team's second-leading scorer in those Finals. He left the team in 2008 and then bounced around the league until finally retiring with the Wizards in 2016, leaving career averages of 11.0 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game. He's now playing in the Big 3 as the co-captain of 3's Company.
LeBron James - Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron James couldn't lift his team past the Spurs in 2007 but he'll have a shot at revenge six years later when he finally beat them in the Finals. James stayed with the Cavs until 2010 when he joined the Miami Heat to win his first two NBA Championships.
LeBron came back home in 2014 and fulfilled his promise of winning a championship with the Cavaliers, but left the team again in 2018. He's now leading the Los Angeles Lakers to the playoffs and has a career average of 27.1 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.4 assists per game to go along with 3 rings, 4 MVPs, and 3 Finals MVPs.