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LeBron James Finals Record: Reviewing LeBron James's six NBA Finals losses

2018 NBA Finals - Game Four
2018 NBA Finals - Game Four
José Quintero

LeBron James is inarguably one of the best in basketball history, for some people he is the greatest of all time, but his finals record might be the Achilles heel of his legacy.

The 33-year-old became the seventh player in NBA history that reached nine finals in a career, and the fifth ever to do so eight straight seasons.

Golden State Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 108-85 to sweep the series and give LeBron his sixth NBA Finals loss.

That was also the fourth final loss for "The King" in five years. In nine NBA Finals James' teams have been favorites only twice, both with the Miami Heat, winning one of two.

However, LeBron still has three NBA trophies and three NBA Finals MVP awards to his name and his 15th season proved he is still in his prime.

Also check out: Lebron James’ Finals Appearances and stats

Here's a look at the six NBA Finals losses of LeBron James:


2007 - The First Sweep: against San Antonio Spurs (0-4)

NBA Finals Game 4: San Antonio Spurs v Cleveland Cavaliers
NBA Finals Game 4: San Antonio Spurs v Cleveland Cavaliers

James' first trip to an NBA Finals was one to forget.

LeBron led the Cavs to their first finals in franchise history just to be swept by the Spurs.

Cleveland was considered underdog to a San Antonio team that won its fourth NBA title with Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker all in their prime.

The then 22-year-old James and Cleveland went through a hard Eastern Conference playoff, where they defeated Washington Wizards, the New Jersey Nets and the Detroit Pistons on their way to the finals.

San Antonio defeated the Cavs in the first two games easily. James' squad came close in games three and four, but they got swept at their home court.

LeBron averaged 22.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 6.8 assists in the finals.

2011 - The Meltdown: against Dallas Mavericks (2-4)

Dallas Mavericks v Miami Heat - Game Six
Dallas Mavericks v Miami Heat - Game Six

A new LeBron James was ready to shock the world and win his first ring.

James took his talents to south beach to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the Miami Heat roster. James' side was the favorite and all was set to begin a new dynasty in the NBA.

But then Dallas arrived on the scene.

The Mavericks conquered their first NBA title beating the Heat in six games after being down two times.

The media criticized James for disappearing in key moments. He scored just eight points and went 3-of-11 from the field in a Game 4 loss, and in Game 6 he collapsed, especially in the second half, taking wrong decisions and passing the ball when he should have shot.

At the end of the series, the media claimed that this was the worst superstar meltdown in sports history.

James finished the finals with 17.8 points (his worst in a final), 7.2 rebounds and 6.8 assists a night.

2014 - The Blow Out: against San Antonio Spurs (1-4)

San Antonio Spurs v Cleveland Cavaliers
San Antonio Spurs v Cleveland Cavaliers

Once again, the Spurs were the King's nightmare.

San Antonio destroyed the Miami Heat easily to win its fifth NBA championship.

Miami beat the Spurs the previous season in the Finals in seven games, but this time they were blown out.

LeBron had a superb series, averaging 28.2 points, 7.8 boards, and 4.0 assists a game, but Spurs' ball movement was too much for Miami's defense.

San Antonio won Game 3 (111-92) and Game 4 (107-86) on the road to close it out at home with another immense victory (104-87).

This was the last season of James with the Miami Heat as he then re-joined the Cleveland Cavaliers for a second term.

2015 - Not A Dream Return: against Golden State Warriors (2-4)

2015 NBA Finals - Game Six
2015 NBA Finals - Game Six

James’ second term with the Cavs started with a trip to the NBA finals, the fifth in a row for him and second overall of the Cleveland organization.

LeBron, a four-time MVP, fell to a young Warriors team that won their first title in 40 years.

In this year's finals, the Cavs had both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love injured, making Matthew Dellavedova the starting point guard of the team.

Lebron established a record, becoming the first player in NBA history to lead both teams in points, rebounds, and assists in an entire Finals series.

James ended the finals with 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds and 8.8 dishes per game.

2017 - A Dynasty Arises: against Golden State Warriors (1-4)

2017 NBA Finals - Game Five
2017 NBA Finals - Game Five

For the third consecutive season, Cavs and Warriors faced each other in the NBA Finals.

And the Dubs took round three after an outstanding performance by the Finals MVP Kevin Durant.

James' crew made history the previous season when the Cavaliers became the first team to come back from a 1-3 deficit in the Golden State debacle.

But this final was a different version.

The Warriors added Durant and he was in beast mode the whole series, handing the Dubs their fifth NBA trophy.

LeBron averaged 33.6 points, 22.0 rebounds and 10.0 assists in the finals.

2018 - The Second Sweep: against Golden State Warriors (0-4)

2018 NBA Finals - Game Four
2018 NBA Finals - Game Four

Same teams, same story.

Golden State swept Cleveland to secure its sixth NBA title.

The Cavaliers were +650 money line underdogs, according to the Westgate sportsbook in Las Vegas, the worst odds a LeBron James’s team have ever faced in his nine NBA Finals appearances.

James played with an injured right hand in the last three games. LeBron supposedly hurt his hand after punching a whiteboard in the locker room in frustration following the Game 1 loss when his teammate JR Smith inexplicable drove away from the basket instead of shooting with four seconds remaining and the game tied.

James ended the final with 34.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 10.0 assists per game after leading the Cavs in a season full of turbulence.

Edited by Arvind Sriram

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