LeBron James has lived up to the hype in his NBA career and has proved worthy of being in the GOAT conversations. The King has reached NBA Finals a whopping nine times in his career, including eight times in a row from 2011-2018.
While LeBron's 3-6 Finals record doesn't look all that impressive, all those losses aren't on him. He has actually been quite spectacular in several of his Finals defeats. And, of course, he has been the driving force behind three championships, including the historic 2016 title with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Let's rank LeBron James' nine NBA Finals appearances.
9. 2011 vs. Mavs (Heat lost 4-2)
2011 was LeBron James' first trip to the NBA Finals after taking his talents to South Beach. Unfortunately for James, he and the rest of the Miami Heat's Big Three were outclassed by Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks, with the Mavs upsetting the Heat in six games.
James had a rather forgetful Finals stint, which was showcased in his eight-point performance in the pivotal Game 4. This failure led to plenty of criticism.
8. 2007 vs. Spurs (Cavs lost 4-0)
In 2007, a young LeBron James appeared in his first NBA Finals against a Western Conference powerhouse in the San Antonio Spurs.
Unfortunately, James lost steam after a hard-fought playoff run, struggling in a short-lived series against the Spurs. LeBron shot just 35.6% from the field in a four-game sweep.
7. 2014 vs. Spurs (Heat lost 4-1)
Although LeBron James had impressive numbers in their 2014 NBA Finals rematch against the Spurs, he seemed to be all by himself in carrying the load for the Heat.
Despite leading Miami in minutes played, points, rebounds, assists and steals, LeBron still had no response to the very balanced Spurs roster. LeBron's Heat career ended with a five-game series loss.
6. 2012 vs. Thunder (Heat won 4-1)
There's nothing sweeter than your first ring. After the heartbreaking loss to Dallas, LeBron James and the Heat made their way back to the NBA Finals to meet the young Oklahoma City Thunder.
The King was a man on a mission, averaging 28.6 points, 10.2 rebounds and 7.4 assists in 44.1 minutes per game to lead the way for Miami and earn his first-ever championship ring, as well as his first Finals MVP trophy.
5. 2015 vs. Warriors (Cavs lost 4-2)
After returning to Cleveland in search of the franchise's first ring, LeBron James saw himself again carrying a squad to the NBA Finals to meet the up-and-coming Golden State Warriors. LeBron was incredible as usual, averaging 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists, though he did shoot under 40% for the series in a six-game loss.
Still, James proved he could propel any team to compete at the highest level, as he kept the Cavs competitive despite injuries to Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.
4. 2013 vs. Spurs (Heat won 4-3)
The reigning champion Miami Heat saw themselves back again in the NBA Finals, setting the table for what would turn out to be one LeBron James' most legendary NBA Finals performances. We all remember Ray Allen's iconic triple in Game 6 to push the series to a winner-take-all Game 7.
In the dramatic do-or-die match, James put up 37 points on 52.2% shooting, 12 rebounds and four assists to win it all for Miami. The Heat became the first team to win back-to-back titles since the Lakers in the early 2000s.
3. 2018 vs. Warriors (Cavs lost 4-0)
After the trade of Kyrie Irving, LeBron James saw himself once again carrying the load for the Cavs en route to another NBA Finals appearance. Yes, the Warriors did end up sweeping LeBron's Cavs, but that doesn't mean he didn't show up.
LeBron scored 51 points in Game 1, the most ever in a loss. Plus, his impressive triple-double in Game 3 extended his NBA Finals record for triple-doubles to 10.
2. 2017 vs. Warriors (Cavs lost 4-1)
After Cleveland's first-ever championship, LeBron James and the rest of the Cavs were looking to bring the glory back to The Land against a reloaded Warriors team with Kevin Durant.
Though Golden State proved to be too much for Cleveland, LeBron was still on top of his game, logging insane numbers. He became the first NBA player to average a triple-double (33.6 points, 12.0 rebounds, 10.0 assists per game) in the NBA Finals.
1. 2016 vs. Warriors (Cavs won 4-3)
LeBron James was finally able to fulfill his promise and bring home Cleveland's first-ever championship trophy in 2016. In a frantic seven-game series against the Warriors, LeBron spearheaded the most historic comeback in NBA Finals history.
After being down 3-1, The King muscled his way to back-to-back 41-point performances in Games 5 and 6 before eventually winning it all in Game 7, featuring his incredible chase-down block of Andre Iguodala in the waning moments. LeBron showcased yet another all-around performance throughout the series, as he accomplished arguably one of the best achievements in his professional career as well as his best Finals performances ever.