On Sunday night, LeBron James led the Cleveland Cavaliers to an 87-79 win over the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The win advanced James to his eighth consecutive NBA Finals appearance where he will again square off with the defending champion Golden State Warriors.
James making eight straight NBA Finals is an unbelievable accomplishment as he has now been playing into June every year since 2011. In fact, the last time James wasn’t in the Finals, it was a great year for the Los Angeles Lakers, who defeated the Boston Celtics in an epic seven-game series back in 2010.
This was Kobe Bryant at the height of his powers as that was he and the Lakers’ second consecutive championship. Coincidentally, the Lakers defeated a young Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder in a much tougher-than-expected first-round series that went six games.
James on the other hand, was in the final season of his first run with the Cavaliers who he led to the best record in the NBA. They would be upset by the Celtics in the second round, however, robbing fans of the Kobe-LeBron NBA Finals everyone wanted, but never got.
Since then, LeBron has been an NBA Finals staple, making four appearances with the Miami Heat and winning two, before returning to the Cavaliers for the last four trips.
Overall, James has appeared in in 164 playoff games during this run, with at least four more coming. Meaning, he has played in two full NBA seasons worth of playoff games over the last eight years.
James and the Cavaliers are massive underdogs to the Warriors who are seeking their third title in four years, but regardless of the outcome, the accomplishment by James is astounding. That being said, the Lakers remain the last team to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy in a non-LeBron Finals.
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