A timeline of LeBron James' eight consecutive NBA Finals appearances
LeBron and five members of the '60s Celtics are the only players to ever reach eight straight Finals
LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers suffered another defeat in the NBA Finals this week, losing to the Golden State Warriors for the third time the past four seasons. LeBron has been to the Finals the past eight postseasons, but has captured just three rings -- two with the Miami Heat and one with the Cavaliers. It's been a remarkable, unparalleled run of personal success for "The King," even if more campaigns have ended in defeat than he'd like.
Ahead of the big free agency decision he has to make this summer -- a decision that will play a large part in determining whether or not his personal streak of Finals appearances reaches nine next season -- let's take a trip down memory lane to look back at this astounding run:
2010-11: Miami Heat
After leading the overmatched Cavs to the Finals in 2007, a series which ended in a sweep at the hands of the Spurs, LeBron finally returned in 2011, his first season with the Heat. But it was a disappointing series for LeBron -- who scored just eight points in Game 4 -- as the Mavericks won the title in six games.
2011-12 Miami Heat
With redemption on the mind, LeBron and the Heat made a return to the Finals in 2012, and took care of business. LeBron averaged 28.6 points, 10.2 rebounds and 7.4 assists en route to a 4-1 series victory over the Thunder.
- First title
- First Finals MVP
- 26-point, 11-rebound, 13-assist triple-double performance in a series-clinching Game 5
2012-13 Miami Heat
The Heat returned to the Finals for the third straight postseason, and won their second straight title in dramatic fashion in seven games over the Spurs. LeBron and Co. were saved by the iconic 3-pointer by Ray Allen in Game 6, before going on to become the first team to win back-to-back titles since the Lakers in the early 2000s. LeBron averaged 25.3 points, 10.9 rebounds and seven assists per game.
- Second title
- Second Finals MVP
- Became 10th player to win multiple Finals MVPs and fifth player to win Finals MVPs in back-to-back seasons
- Triple-double in Games 1 and 6, becoming first since Magic Johnson in 1991 to post multiple triple-doubles in one Finals series
- 37 points in Game 7 tied Tommy Heinsohn (1957) for the most points ever in a NBA Finals Game 7
- "Headband Game"
2013-14 Miami Heat
After two straight titles, LeBron led the Heat back to the Finals for the fourth straight season. Once again they faced the San Antonio Spurs, but this time it was the Spurs who were victorious. LeBron averaged 28.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and four assists while shooting 57.1 percent from the field, but the Heat were outclassed, with all four of their losses coming by at least 15 points.
2014-15 Cleveland Cavaliers
Following the loss to the Spurs in the 2014 Finals, LeBron returned home in free agency, joining the Cavaliers for his second stint back in Cleveland. Along with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, he led the Cavs to the Finals for the first time since 2007, and for the fifth straight time personally. There they faced the Golden State Warriors in what would be the first of four straight matchups, but Love missed the entire Finals and Irving missed the final five games as the Warriors won the title in six games.
- Became first player since various members of the Boston Celtics in the 1960s to go to five straight Finals
- Averaged 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists, becoming the first player in Finals history to lead both teams in those major stat categories
- Scored 123 points over the first three games, setting a new record for points in the first three games of the Finals
- 40-point, 14-rebound, 11-assist triple-double in Game 5 made him only second player in Finals history to record a 40-point triple-double
- Became youngest player to reach 5,000 postseason points
2015-16 Cleveland Cavaliers
For the second straight season, LeBron led the Cavaliers back to the Finals to meet the Warriors; it was a sixth straight trip to the Finals for him. Down 3-1, he rallied the Cavaliers to an improbable, historic comeback to steal the series in seven games and claim the first title in franchise history.
- Third title
- Averaged 29.7 points, 11.3 rebounds, 8.9 assists, 2.3 blocks and 2.6 steals per game, becoming the first player in Finals history to lead both teams in all five categories.
- Helped Cavs become first team in NBA history to
- Became first player since members of the 1960s Celtics to go to six straight Finals
- 27-point, 11-rebound, 11-assist triple-double in Game 7 made him only third player to record triple-double in Game 7 in Finals history
2016-17 Cleveland Cavaliers
Coming off the franchise's first title, LeBron and the Cavs made their way back to the Finals for another rematch against a revamped Warriors squad that added Kevin Durant in wake of their defeat in 2016. His addition proved to be too much, as the Warriors took the series in five games. The Cavs' win in Game 4 was the only defeat the Warriors suffered in the entire postseason.
- Became first player to score more than 6,000 career points in the postseason
- Triple-doubles in Games 2 and 4 moved him past Magic Johnson for most triple-doubles in the Finals with nine
- Averaged 33.6 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists per game, becoming first player ever to average a triple-double in a Finals series
- Became first player since members of the 1960s Celtics to go to seven straight Finals
2017-18 Cleveland Cavaliers
This past season was the strangest yet for the Cavaliers, as Kyrie Irving was traded away prior to the start of the campaign. Only, the Cavs then completely revamped their roster again at the trade deadline, bringing various role players, all of whom struggled at times. But still, despite having the least amount of talent around him in nearly a decade, LeBron dragged the Cavs back to the Finals. Once again the Warriors stood in the way, and this time the team from the Bay Area won in a sweep -- though the Cavs easily could have won a couple of the games.
- Scored 51 points in Game 1, the sixth highest total in a Finals game, and the
- Became sixth player ever to go to eight straight Finals, joining five members of the 1960s Celtics.
- Passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for second place on the all-time Finals scoring list
- Triple-double in Game 3 extended his NBA Finals record for triple-doubles to 10
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