Whether you like him or not, Lebron James is going to the NBA Finals for the eighth consecutive year. Only three other players in history have gone more times in a row than James, which is absolutely absurd.
It is not like James has been lucky and happens to be on teams that make the finals, he leads his teams to the finals. Lebron spent four years on the Miami Heat and went to the championship each time. He was able to win two championships coinciding with two Finals MVP awards. He has played four years with the Cleveland Cavaliers and he has led them to one championship so far, and won the MVP that time as well. There is no ignoring the fact that James is the reason his team is in the finals.
This year’s final was Warriors-Cavs round four. The same two teams have been competing every year, leading to viewership fatigue from fans. Also, MVP players on other teams such as James Harden from the Rockets or Russell Westbrook from the Thunder do not get a chance to shine on the big stage. Nevertheless this proves that the NBA Finals is made up of the best of the best; the best team in the league, The Warriors will compete against the greatest player in this generation, Lebron James.
James is a game changer; when he gets hot, so does his team. When James hits a block in the road, his team will stifle too. Just this year the Cavs began to struggle and playoff chances looked dim. Right before the trade deadline, a major overhaul came to the roster and people wondered if this could be the second chance. James once again led the team to a postseason berth.
Fans from around the league acknowledge the fact that Lebron carries his team on his back, and rightfully so. In the 2018 postseason leading up to the finals, James made over 30 percent of the team’s points scored. The rest of his team looks like recreational league players compared to Lebron. Even James’ teammate, J.R. Smith admitted this in an interview with Bleacher Report. “We’re playing too slow. We’re making Bron play hero ball,” Smith said. This has led to many criticisms from fans and sports outlets about the Cavaliers’ success. They claim the team would not be capable of making the playoffs on their own.
Saturday Night Live also made a sketch about this topic. In the skit, “The Other Cavaliers,” the team members, aside from Lebron describe their roles on the team. One teammate is in charge of Lebron’s laundry, while another member has the privilege of holding James’ multiple cell phones. The team also consists of a Roomba, a dog, and a chain smoking woman.While the skit is obviously exaggerated, it holds some truth.
Even with little support from his team, Lebron finds ways to impress and put up unbelievable numbers. His presence alone can shake the enemy team to their core. Due to James’ impending free agency, there is a lot of speculation on where he might end up. Los Angeles? Cleveland? Or could he do the unthinkable and join Golden State? Whatever team he joins, there is no doubt that that team’s playoff chances grow exponentially.
No matter what happened in this Finals, Lebron has cemented himself as the greatest player of this generation. Once he hangs up his jersey for good, we will be talking about where he ranks amongst the greatest, like Michael Jordan.