LeBron James has had one of the greatest storybook careers in NBA history. Coming into the league as the most hyped superstar ever, he has certainly lived up to his potential and in many ways exceeded it. He stands here today as a three-time NBA champion and three-time Finals MVP who has managed to win everything in the game of basketball.
Even more impressive is the fact that LeBron James has dominated with every team he has played for. Dating back to his first stint with the Cavs, James has always consistently been the most talented player in the league in terms of overall ability. It is time to revisit the career of LeBron James where he played for three franchises.
Cleveland Cavaliers: 11 Seasons (2003–2010, 2014–2018)
1 x NBA Champion
1 x NBA MVP
1 x Finals MVP
10 x NBA All-Star
8 x NBA All-NBA First Team
1 x NBA All-Defensive First Team
1 x NBA Scoring Champion
Without a doubt, LeBron James was ready to be the face of the NBA from his rookie season. He was a man among boys, posting 20.9 PPG, 5.5 RPG, and 5.9 APG in only his first season in the league while running away with the ROY award. James will then carry the Cavs to multiple 60-win seasons with the likes of Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Mo Williams as his primary sidekicks.
James even managed to reach the NBA Finals, where he was swept against the great Spurs Dynasty led by Gregg Popovich, Tim Duncan, and Tony Parker. Still, James was a beast in the regular seasons and captured multiple individual awards including an MVP and making Multiple All-Star appearances. However, multiple playoff disappointments led LeBron to leave Cleveland before returning a second time.
No doubt, his second stint with the Cavs was the most memorable. James managed to do something extraordinary, by knocking off a 73-win Warriors team led by sharpshooters Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
James was easily the best player on the series, winning Finals MVP and his third NBA championship. Most importantly, he won Cleveland's first NBA title and delivered on his promise to gift the city an NBA title. This is something that no other player could dream of achieving, and James managed to do it.
The Cavaliers are extremely lucky that LeBron James was born in Akron, Ohio. But he would not have been able to win this important title if it wasn't for his stint with the Miami Heat.
Miami Heat: 4 Seasons (2010-2014)
2 x NBA Champion
3 x NBA MVP
2 x Finals MVP
4 x NBA All-Star
4 x NBA First Team
4 x NBA All-Defensive First Team
LeBron James moving to Miami was one of the most talked-about topics in sports history. After James was unable to win in the postseason with Cleveland, he departed to the Miami Heat to join superstar Dwyane Wade and All-Star forward Chris Bosh. This move was heavily scrutinized by the NBA media, and especially Cleveland fans, who felt that James ran away from the pressure of winning in his city to join a dominant team instead. In many ways, James started the superteam trend that we see today.
But James was not just a passenger when he joined the fact. In fact, he elevated his game to Mt. Rushmore levels. James won three regular-season MVPs, reached the Finals four times in a row, and won two straight NBA championships. While many will claim he had to learn how to win by joining Dwayne Wade, James made up for this by completely dominating the game during the four years with the Heat. He was at his physical prime, in terms of speed and strength, and was also a much smarter and more cerebral player than he was with Cleveland the first time around.
In many ways, the Heat LeBron might have been the best LeBron James we saw. After getting swept off the floor by a record margin to the San Antonio Spurs once again, James decided it was time to return to his home city where he would make history by delivering an NBA title to Cleveland. Shortly after his second stint with Cleveland, James would make one more move that would shake up the entire NBA once again. In a move once again scrutinized by the media, James moved to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Los Angeles Lakers: 1+ Seasons (2019-Present)
2 x NBA All-Star
Many claimed that James moved to LA to take a break. After all, he went to the Finals eight straight times and perhaps wanted to focus on his career outside basketball. This seemed evident in his first season with the team, where James struggled with his health and was unable to carry a team of young players to the playoffs. This would all change the following season when the Lakers traded for superstar big man Anthony Davis.
LeBron and AD have so far dominated the West, holding the best record in the conference and looking like NBA Finals favorites. Unfortunately, this is cut short for the time being due to the spreading of Coronavirus.
James only has one full year under his belt with the Lakers, and only has 2 All-Star appearances to show for it. It might only be a matter of time before LeBron James can win his fourth NBA title, and cement his legacy as one of the game's greatest winners.
Which LeBron James Was The Best?
Clearly, the Miami Heat LeBron James was the most dominant. He was in his prime when you take physical ability and also production on the floor. He was at his most efficient, especially with his shooting, and could still physically dominate everybody in the league. Especially in Game 7 against the Spurs, James let loose from the perimeter and could not be denied by dropping 37 points with 12 rebounds. As good as Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh were, LeBron James was the number one reason why the Heat made 4 straight NBA Finals with 2 championships.
Not to mention, LeBron James was a man on a mission during his time with the Miami Heat. He had suffered multiple playoff failures and wanted to prove that he can finally overcome his postseason demons to get the job done. It was his time in Miami that eventually led him to finally win the most recent title with the Cavs.