LeBron James’ ridiculous NBA Finals streak hasn’t been equaled in 50 years
You probably already know how good LeBron James is as a basketball player.
How could you not? The guy has dominated the NBA since he came into the league in 2003. Yet sometimes, we still take for granted just how incredible his accomplishments are.
Take Friday night’s Game 6 win over the Toronto Raptors. In rolling through the Eastern Conference finals, James is on his way to his sixth consecutive Finals appearance — and second straight with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Again, you probably know how impressive that is in a vacuum. But let the historic nature of James’ accomplishment truly sink in. He (along with teammate James Jones, who’s been with LeBron since the Miami days) becomes the first player since Bill Russell’s Boston Celtics to reach six straight NBA Finals. Those Celtics famously won eight straight titles, the last of which came in 1966 — marking 50 years since anyone has accomplished what James did with Friday’s win.
LeBron James will become 8th player in NBA history to play in 6 straight NBA Finals (1st in 50 years) pic.twitter.com/DTbIpCzeKE
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 28, 2016
Yes, he’s lost three of those so far, and the Cavs could very well be underdogs once again this season. Either the Oklahoma City Thunder or Golden State Warriors will give them fits. But focusing on what James hasn’t done is just willful ignorance. In each of the past six seasons, LeBron has had to vanquish 14 Eastern Conference foes to make his way to the Finals. When Russell’s Celtics put together their run, six total teams made the postseason — because there were only 11 teams in the entire league.
And James has managed to make history while playing for two different teams, with two completely different approaches to the game and two different sets of teammates. Regardless of how many rings he’s left on the table, James’ current run is something we’ll look back on 50 years from now with the appropriate sense of wonder and astonishment.
But why wait? Whether you want to call LeBron a choker or celebrate all that he’s done for the game, the choice is yours. We’re going to pick the latter.