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LeBron James Finals Record is a Weak Criticism

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With The Last Dance premiering last night the All-Time debate has heated up. LeBron James‘ finals record has also become a hot topic again.

Since entering the league in 2003 LeBron James has had the expectations of being one of the all-time greats. Being compared to greats like Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and of course Michael Jordan. For nine straight seasons, James made it to nine straight ( yes nine straight) NBA Finals. We all know the record 3-6 in those nine finals. Skip Bayless and others have made it a point to drop this stat any time LeBron James’ name is mentioned.

This is not an article on why or why not James is the best player ever. To me, you can’t even start to have this debate until James’ career over. This article is about the unfair criticism James received for having six finals loses.

Other players don’t get the same criticism for coming up short.

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When you think of Jerry West the first thing that comes to mind is “The Logo”. You don’t think of his EIGHT NBA Finals loses. When you think of John Elway you think of his two rings. You don’t think about his four Super Bowl losses. Their narrative isn’t defined by the losses but by their victories.

With so much attention on the six losses in the NBA Finals, it has made it clear that James loses will always overshadow the wins. There are a lot of factors of course. From the decision to the age of Social Media and the fact that James himself has stated he is the G.O.A.T because of his finals win over the Golden St. Warriors. Even with all of those factors, you shouldn’t make getting to the finals worst than getting knocked in the second round.

LeBron James would have been better off losing in the second round

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If James would have lost in the second round for three or four of those six finals losses would we see him in a better light? Jordan receives a lot of praise which is well deserved for being 6-0 in the finals. Jordan though also lost in the first round three times, twice in the second round and twice in the conference finals. What if Jordan got to the finals three or four times in those years and lost would we judge him differently?

I think the answer is yes for sure. The rebuttal to LeBron being in the discussion usually starts with “Jordan was 6-0 in the finals”. If Jordan was 6-3 or 6-4 would the perception be different? If LeBron had flamed out in the second round during those six finals appearances I believe the finals argument would be totally different.

Conclusion

Look in my opinion it’s Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Michael Jordan in whatever you want to put them (for now). The fact that LeBron was great enough to make it to nine finals but run into better teams should not be your main criticism. So if the finals appearance arent a factor. The losses shouldn’t be a major factor either.

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Lachard Binkley
I am the Director of basketball for Overtime Heroics, a Contributing Writer for Space City Scoop, and a podcast host for Clutch City Control Room. I am also the creator of Rockets For Life. My articles have been featured on Bleacher Report, Sports Illustrated, and Apple News.
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