LeBron: The Evolution Of His Game

Editor’s note: As the NBA embarks this week on a new season, Miami Heat superstar LeBron James stands as the league’s most iconic figure. In Part Two of a three-part series on James and his place in the league, we take a look at how James’ on-court game has changed since he burst onto the scene straight out of high school in 2003 and how his early failures shaped the player he is today. 

In Part One (Sunday), we looked at the people who have helped shape James into an international marketing force and a difference-maker for at-risk kids in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. In Part Three (Tuesday), we’ll weigh in on where James stands in the greatest-of-all-time argument.


VIDEO: The LeBron Series — Growing Up

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY – May 31, 2007 was the day LeBron James seemingly put it all together. In Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals in Detroit, James scored 29 of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ final 30 points in a double-OT victory that helped the franchise and its star reach The Finals for the first time.

As usual, James was nearly impossible to stop when he got into the paint. And no Piston defender was able to stay in front of him without help. But the difference on that night was that his jumper was falling. There was a ridiculous, pull-up 23-footer from the right wing to tie the scorein the final minute of regulation. There was an even crazier three in front of the Pistons’ bench to tie it with 1:15 to go in the second overtime.

The Pistons — one of the best defensive teams in the league — were helpless.

“It was very Jordanesque,” Detroit’s Chauncey Billups said afterward. “That kid was on fire, it was crazy. He put on an unbelievable display out there. It’s probably the best I have seen against us ever in the playoffs.”

James was 22 at the time. That performance was six years ago. And in the six years since, that basketball prodigy has evolved into a much different and much better player.

The evolution has not been a straight path. While his game has expanded and improved year by year, there have been hiccups along the way. And everything has come under the intense scrutiny that comes with being dubbed as “The Chosen One” in high school.

From star to MVP

With his combination of size, skill and athleticism, James was ready to be a star from the time he was drafted at the age of 18. He lived up to the hype right away, becoming the third rookie in NBA history — Oscar Robertson and Michael Jordan were the first two — to average more than 20 points, five rebounds and five assists. And he did it with little variety in his game.

That night in Detroit, at the end of his fourth season in the league, all of James’ offense in the final 16 minutes originated from the top of the key. There was a single give-and-go through Zydrunas Ilgauskas in the high post, but everything else was James dribbling on the perimeter and either getting to the basket or pulling up for a jumper. Only one of his 18 baskets in that game came off an assist.

James’ shooting and efficiency
Season EFG% TS%
2003-04 43.8% 48.8%
2004-05 50.4% 55.4%
2005-06 51.5% 56.8%
2006-07 50.7% 55.2%
2007-08 51.8% 56.8%
2008-09 53.0% 59.1%
2009-10 54.5% 60.4%
2010-11 54.1% 59.4%
2011-12 55.4% 60.5%
2012-13 60.3% 64.0%
Career 52.4% 57.5%
EFG% = (FGM + (0.5*3PM))/FGA
TS% = PTS/(2*(FGA + (0.44*FTA)))

That was the kind of player he was. He attacked from the outside in.

“We tried to post him up at times,” says then Cavs assistant Michael Malone, “and sometimes he would, sometimes he wouldn’t.”

For opponents, the No. 1 priority was preventing James from getting into transition. If they could do that, the next step was keeping him out of the paint and making him a jump shooter. From his second year on, he was one of the best finishers in the league, shooting about 70 percent in the restricted area.

That accounts to 1.4 points a shot. Comparatively, his jumpers, even when accounting for the extra point he got when he made a three, were worth just 0.8 points. So defenders sagged off of him, went under the screen, and played the odds. Complicating things for defenders, though, was that he’s been a willing and competent passer since the day he entered the league.

“I tried to make him think,” says Shane Battier of his days guarding a younger James. “If he was instinctual, there’s not much I can do.”

The hiring of Mike Brown as coach in James’ third season helped him become a better defensive player. But though he was unstoppable at times and the most complete player among the league’s top stars, his numbers didn’t change much from his second season through his fifth. It was in his last two years with the Cavs when James really established himself as the best player in the world, becoming a better shooter and more efficient scorer.

He got into the paint more, got to the line more, and his jumper started to improve. And with a better supporting cast for their star, the Cavs jumped from 19th in offensive efficiency (in both 2006-07 and ’07-08) to fourth (in both ’08-09 and ’09-10). They held the league’s best record each year and James earned his first two MVP awards.


VIDEO: James claims MVP in 2009-10

Expanding his game in Miami


VIDEO: LeBron makes his famous ‘Decision’

James’ move to South Florida not only gave him two All-Star teammates but a coach who would finally get him to step out of his comfort zone. In that first season in Miami, coach Erik Spoelstra used pie charts to show James and Dwyane Wade that they needed to add more variety to their offense.

James in the post, last 5 seasons
Season Reg. season Playoffs
2008-09 5.3% 6.8%
2009-10 6.4% 6.3%
2010-11 8.0% 8.3%
2011-12 13.9% 15.3%
2012-13 11.9% 16.0%
% of total possessions, according to
Synergy Sports Technology

Though Wade clearly had to make bigger sacrifices, James saw his usage rate go down. He learned to play off the ball a little and even dabbled with a post game. His standard field goal percentage hit a career high of 51 percent in 2010-11, though his effective field goal percentage and efficiency took a dip because he shot fewer free throws and 3-pointers.

It was Season 2 in Miami that brought the biggest change in James’ game and, ultimately, his first championship.

“When we lost to Dallas,” Spoelstra says, “he put in a lot of time that summer, really to help us establish a back-to-the-basket post-up game.”

James began to work out of the post a lot more than he ever had and reduced his 3-point attempts. In The Finals against Oklahoma City, he shot just 7-for-38 from outside the paint, but he destroyed the Thunder inside.

And it was in that playoff run that Spoelstra and the Heat turned to the idea of positionless basketball. Thanks in part to an injury to Chris Bosh, they used more one-big lineups, with James essentially playing both power forward and point guard at the same time.

Last season, with Ray Allen adding more shooting to the rotation, the Heat assumed a full-time identity.

“Their situation has evolved where he has become the lead guy,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle says of James. “[In 2011], they didn’t have all that stuff sorted out and so we took advantage of that, and they’ve adjusted brilliantly since.”

James is the primary attacker, of course, but he has also become a pretty good shooter. After making fewer than 33 percent of his 3-pointers in his first eight seasons, he shot 36.2 percent from beyond the arc in 2011-12 and then 40.6 percent last season.

“The scouting report used to be he would lose faith in his jumper,” Battier says. “That’s no longer the case. That’s the biggest difference, but that’s a huge difference. It changes the way you have to guard him.”

“That doesn’t happen by accident,” adds Spoelstra. “That doesn’t happen by you getting your reps in games. That was a lot of repetitions before and after practice, and in sessions on his own.”

With his own shooting improvements and all the space he was creating for his teammates, the Heat became the best shooting team in NBA history last season, registering an effective field goal percentage of 55.2 percent.

The priorities when defending James are basically the same as they always have been. Defenders still don’t want to see him in the open court, and they still need to keep him out of the paint. According to SportVU data, the Heat scored 1.67 points per James drive* last season. The league averaged just 1.03 points per possession. (*Drive = Any touch that starts at least 20 feet of the basket and is dribbled within 10 feet of the basket.)

James can now attack opponents from the inside out, using his refined post game to bully himself to the rim or draw extra defenders and create open looks for his teammates. And when he does have the ball on the perimeter, he’s better able to punish defenses for sagging off.

“Those became pivotal shots in the San Antonio series,” Spoelstra says. “It was the only thing they would give us.”

The Spurs’ strategy of making James shoot from mid-range worked for much of the 2013 Finals. But the new James eventually came through, appropriately sealing Game 7 with a 19-foot jumper.

“I looked at all my regular season stats, all my playoff stats, and I was one of the best mid-range shooters in the game,” he said afterward. “I just told myself, ‘Don’t abandon what you’ve done all year. Don’t abandon now because they’re going under.’

” ‘Everything you’ve worked on, the repetition, the practices, the off-season training, no matter how big the stakes are, no matter what’s on the line, just go with it.’ And I was able to do that.”


VIDEO: LeBron , Heat hot early in Game 6 of 2013 Finals

Closing the deal

Improved post game? Championship No. 1.

Improved jumper? Championship No. 2.

Of course, James’ journey to the top of the mountain was not quite that simple, because he really was good enough to win championships in 2010 and 2011.

In his final year in Cleveland, the Cavs held a 2-1 series lead over the Celtics in the conference finals. But they blew it, with James shooting 18-for-53 (34 percent) over the last three games. In Game 5, his final home game in Cleveland, he shot 3-for-14 and acted like he’d much rather be somewhere else in the second half. Even if many doubted his championship mettle, that game was stunning.

In his first year in Miami, the killer instinct was there through the first three rounds, as James made several huge plays late in games against both the Celtics and Bulls. But then something changed in The Finals against Dallas.

He didn’t play terribly, but he played passively, more like a ball-distributing point guard than a 6-foot-8 freak of nature with the ability to take over games. In a six-game series, he got to the free-throw line a total of 20 times. Many wondered if he would forever be known as a superstar who couldn’t close the deal.

“I definitely didn’t play up to the potential I knew I was capable of playing at,” James said of the Dallas series in a recent interview with ESPN the Magazine’s Chris Broussard. “So you could make any assessment — I froze, I didn’t show up, I was late for my own funeral. You can make your own assessment. I can’t argue with nothing.”

Less than a year later, James was faced with another moment of truth, Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals in Boston with the Celtics leading the series 3-2. That night, five years after that memorable game in Detroit, he had another breakthrough.

There were no signs of passivity as James racked up 45 points (on 19-for-26 shooting), 15 rebounds and five assists, sending the series back to Miami.

That was the night things changed, perhaps forever. Six games later, LeBron James had his first championship.

What was the difference between that game in Boston and some of the others that came before it? Only James really knows.

“The best thing that happened to me last year was us losing The Finals and me playing the way I played,” he said the night he won his first title, “It humbled me. I knew what it was going to have to take, and I was going to have to change as a basketball player, and I was going to have to change as a person to get what I wanted.”

The development of his  game, the development of the Heat’s system and the shedding of whatever mental roadblock was holding him back in 2010 and 2011 all contributed to James going from the best player in the world to NBA champion.

Staying at the mountaintop won’t be much different from getting there. Every season is a new journey, and James almost took a step backward this past June. If Kawhi Leonard didn’t miss a free throw in a critical and series-changing Game 6 of The Finals, if Bosh didn’t get a key rebound, or if Allen didn’t hit one of the biggest shots in NBA history, the scrutiny would have been right back on James for the two ugly turnovers he committed in the final minute of the fourth quarter.

That’s sports. And that scrutiny is what comes with having the kind of talent that no one has ever seen before.

Now, we see what comes next.

“I want to be the greatest of all-time,” James said as he began his quest for championship No. 3. “I’m far away from it. But I see the light.”


VIDEO: James fuels Heat’s back-to-back title run

88 Comments

  1. zerene88 says:

    Indeed Lebron’s loss in the 2011 Finals was devastating at that time, but it turned out to be a blessing — it made him change “as a player and as a person

  2. REALBASKETBALLFANS says:

    Never sean so many lebron lovers #given

  3. Bob says:

    Imagine if LeBron and Wade took reduced contracts because they just scored mega advertising deals and locked up a couple more stars!
    This new cap means you have to get creative. I think they are serious about the 6 championship promise.
    Joakim Noah, anyone?

  4. HangtimeBlogTroll2013 says:

    Doc Rivers fell off

  5. D.O says:

    and to the dude Joe Roe how does LBJ get rocked by pacers even though he won????? Im a lil confused on that one and just because he made sure he was fresh before he rocked Pacers to sleep…Dont mean anything!!! HATERSEVERYWHERE!!!! #3peat

  6. D.OGLESBY says:

    please all you kobe and lakers fans. dont forget how many times Robert Horry,Derek Fisher even Shaq saved yall playoffs…

  7. Joe Roe says:

    I watch all sports because of the competition. Same goes for NBA. However, ever the teaming up of the Heat, the competition has eroded. The Heat are picked UNINAMOUSLY to win the championship before the season even starts and they’ve done it twice already. So at this point, I have completly stopped watching NBA. I just resort to the highlights. The fact that the Heat were engineered to come together with 3 franchise players, literally took out the fun out of the competitive nature of the NBA. If you want to talk about the Bulls team of the 90s, let’s just say that Scottie would not have been a HOF had it not been for their winning ways. Same goes for Cleveland. If Cleveland had won a championship or two with LeBron, I’m pretty sure there would have been a HOF outside LeBron. This is a team sports. So anyone who’s saying that Cleveland didn’t have good players, they are eluded for it’s a team game. Cleveland made it to the NBA finals. So you can’t say Cleveland was a bad team. The dynamic of each player allowed them to win. Same goes for SPURS. Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili became superstars as a result of their winning chemistry. Had they not win as much, nobody would have known them. LBJ and Bosh leaving their franchises was a shady move. First, with LeBron’s superstar power, he could have been the one recruiting players. Why does he go to another player’s team? It shows that he’s not a leader. He is seen as the best player, but yet not the leader of his own team. It just doesn’t add up. I’m hating on LeBron and Bosh cause they took the fun out of NBA and they did it for business purposes. They talk about what’s best for their “families”. Dude!! You get paid hundreds of millions regardless, so how’s that for your families? Just say you’re doing it for your selfish reasons. The idea of athletes playing businessmen before they retire is absurd. Focus on your dream job, which is playing basketball and getting paid for it in great amounts. The Heat lack competitive nature as they’re focused on their image more than winning. Look at LBJ vs Pacers in East Finals. LBJ gets rocked by Indiana, instead of reacting to a hard foul, he gets up and makes sure his attire is proper so the logos of Nike are in place!! WTFF. Worry about the game, not your hairline.

  8. PedroM says:

    Im sick of Lebron haters… and compare with Jordan who is biiiig Another hater.!!! jordan could have not done it by himself either lets be real. having two of the most Sharp shooter in the League. if you don’t remember Paxon saved his butt in a final vs the suns, and having a guy who can do anything on the Court (Pippen) a guy who can secure 15+ rebounds and dont forget about second chances with 10+ Points (Rodman) best six man in the League(kukoc) a Sharp shooter and 95% shooter from the ft line(Kerr) plus harper and so on… check the team out Before talk…. I wanna see jordan with the same Cleveland that lebron took to the final and see how far he will go.

  9. Ray says:

    You can’t be considered the GOAT if the gameplan of the opposing team is to stand back five feet from you when you are on the perimeter … even if such a plan happened to backfire in game 7 of the finals this year, it just shows a disrespect towards james. There is no way a team would ever build a strategy of playing 5 ft off jordan. James is obviously awesome, but can’t be GOAT if you have a major exploitable weakness. GOAT needs to be feared any time the ball is in his hands no matter where he is on the court (unless you are a center which is clearly different).

  10. I think LeBron James has potential to be the best player of all time if he wins more championships than Michael Jordan and legendary Bill Russel of the Boston Celtics. Career wise Kobe Bryant has had a more brilliant career than LeBron James but at the moment LeBron is no question the best player in the world as he is the main star of the NBA. I think LeBron though should retain humility because he has still some way to go before he can make a legitimate argument to be considered the best player of all time. For me he would have to break Jordan’s records, Bill Russel’s records, Wilt Chamberlain’s records to be fully considered. The only player i feel has a legitimate reason to say he was better than Michael Jordan is Bill Russel.

  11. LBJThreePeat says:

    LBJ the way he’s playing at age 28 and still being able to improve is just insane. Just emerging his prime with already 4 Mvps and 2 finals Mvps he will be the GOAT when it’s all said and done. He will take over magic bird and oscar as the best of all time.

  12. james says:

    they are stil gonna make it this year!!!!

  13. DWade says:

    The Cavs had the 2-1 series lead against the Celtics in the 2010 Conference SEMI-FINALS.. :)

  14. confused? says:

    alll this bollocks on MJ not losing in the finals 6 – 6, what a stupid comparison that is!!! isnt just as bad as not being able to carry your team out of the first round, Mj has been knocked about plenty of times in the 1st round. So by that it clearly puts lebron as the forerunner because he never went out of the 1st round with the worst team in the league.

    6/6 dumbest thing ive ever heard.

  15. freal says:

    Shout outs to all the haters…LOVE Y’ALL…you make watching the greatest player in the world that much more special!

  16. Chow says:

    LEBRON JAMES all earned his award not given.. remember that man.. KOBE BRYANT earned 2 rings and given 3 rings by SHAQ.. MIAMI HEAT won 2 Back 2 Back Championship Without 7 FOOTERS.. KOBE won with SHAQ, ODOM, PAU, BYNUM and even getting DH.. LEBRON JAMES plays 1-4 positions even center for sometimes.. Now do the MATH 4 MVP’s, 2 CHAMPIONSHIP, 2 Finals MVP, almost breaking records in just 29 YEARS of AGE.. You are such a KOBE lover and LBJ Hater.. Think Before you Click..

  17. Fan says:

    Lebron will never be the GOAT. You think everyone will just forget about Michael Jordan? He’s already solidified as the GOAT. Also, Kobe is and always will be above Lebron. MJ and Kobe played through a rough NBA, especially MJ. NBA these days is touch fouls. Fact.

  18. HangtimeBlogTroll2013 says:

    If only LBJ6 had won a championship in Cleveland with Shaq *tisk *tisk *tisk *decisions *decisions *decisions

  19. From my personal standpoint, I am a BIG lakers fan and I super duper love Kobe but c’mon guys. LeBron James probably the best player in the league right now. HANDS DOWN!!!

  20. rj junto says:

    its a business my friend

  21. jimmy says:

    I think Lebron got lucky. He is soft and slow and cant shoot at all. I wouldn’t even put him in the top 20 in the NBA last year

  22. steven whitaker says:

    King james 3 two rings and going for the third this season

    • LBJthaking!!!! says:

      I find it absolutely amazing that lebron is the most hated and gets all the boos from the fans and yet he still can be the best and shut the fans up. He plays under the most amount of pressure and succeeds. That is truly amazing and i love watching him play

  23. HenyoNGBasketball says:

    Every team in the league have a chance to win a championship because the new NBA rules. defence is lame. you can’t even hack a player now. when you called for flagrant foul you will be ejected. It is easy for a slasher type of player to move into the lane. player like durant, wade, lebron, lenard, paul, jorge, harden and rose. that is why i think the heat will have 3peat. cause they have the best in scoring in the paint. i’m no hater just a basketball fan.

  24. EMir says:

    still only one is MJ :)

  25. He handled “The Decision” so poorly that he wasn’t even in the mental capacity to dominate. If it wasn’t for his arrogance in his first year in South Beach, he’d have the 3-peat by now. Wade and Bosh would never even reach the conference finals without this BEAST! Still give respect for his improvement in his game and his handling of pressure because that’s the main reason they’re going for the 3-peat this season with or without the team’s management competency.

  26. If LBJ hadn’t been as arrogant as he was in the Decision, he would’ve gotten the 3-peat against my SPURS. Give respect where its due!

  27. Yob Sotto says:

    The greatest player of all time. We all knew what you have been through. Go get another ring in this coming season.

  28. TheAll-Star136 says:

    The Heat will win the 3rd title in a row (thank you Greg Oden)

  29. Domination says:

    Lakers are the most iconic team alongside with the Celtics. Although both teams dont seem like big threats as of now the Lakers have the best player which is Kobe Bryant historically not the best because of Jordan but Kobe is a better player than Lebron James and Kevin Durant. As a matter of fact he is the best shooting guard in the league his FG% is right behind James Harden but thats just FG. Lebron is good but not better than Kobe.

  30. mason says:

    funny how the spurs and pacers both took out their biggest shot blockers in game 7 against the heat, papovich being the best coach in the nab, would not do that after seeing what the pacers did, taking out hibbert. Bulls all the way

  31. jay says:

    Absolutely right earning a ring and buyin a ring (king flop,bosh,allen,beasly,oden,) is a big diffrence.U think pat gonna look stupid he made sure they won,one way or another.If king flop is that good he would have got atleast 1 title in cleveland,u aint that good riley had to buy the titles for u.

    • LeggoHEAT says:

      Even Jordan couldn’t do it himself before Pippen came to the Bulls. Your argument is invalid, sorry.

    • LBJKIN6JAMES says:

      that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard in my life.
      MJ couldn’t do it alone on a garbage team and neither could Kobe, they both needed stacked rosters to even get to the finals… the fact that LBJ took that HORRIBLE Cavs team to the finals on his back at the age of 22 years old says a lot about the type of player he is. 3 years with a good team and he has been to the finals all 3 years… imagine if LeBron had a good team for the first 7 years of his career ;)

    • LBJthaking!!!! says:

      HE DID ALL THE WORK IN CLEVELAND JAY REALLY?!!!!! I MEBRR U JAY U ARE A PATHETIC HATER AND YOUR IQ IS VERY BAD. IM FROM CLEVELAND AND THE PLAYERS WER VERY BAD. LEBRON HAD TO CARRY THEM. MIKE BROWN WAS ALSO VERY BAD HE GETS FIRED TWICE AND CLEVELAND TAKES HIM BACK. HAHAHAH NOT JORDAN OR KOBE WULD OF WON CLEVELAND A RING EITHER. KEEP BEING DILLUSIONAL. LAST I CHECKED YOU CAN’T WIN RINGS WITH 1 SUPERSTAR LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING MISS JAY….CLEVELAND HASN’T WON ANYTHING SINCE 1964 PLEASE TELL ME WHY? CAN YOU TELL ME WHY?

  32. Eric da Truth says:

    Wonder if there would have been similar fights about MJ if internet had existed as it is now in the 80s and 90s. People writing comments how “Kareem is just better than Jordan” or “Jordan will never win a title” or “the Blazers would have won if Mike hadn’t had Pippen”. It’s just awful, the way y’all go on about this bs that has been going on forever. LBJ this, LBJ that. Couldn’t we all just sit back, watch the games as they are, and have these conversations after his career is finished?

    Sometimes it seems like half of the people writing these comments don’t even follow NBA, like y’all got your “NBA knowledge” from playing 2K13 or something and had just such a subjective point of view.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hey do not insult basketball knowledge from 2k13 it makes you more smarterer about basketball

    • LeggoHEAT says:

      Some people are just blindly hating on LBJ because they’re stuck in the past and find it hard to move on. You should feel pity for them.

  33. Andrew says:

    Well since all you guys are Lebron lovers, why don’t you all happily watch the heat win over and over and over and over again for the next decade. Or maybe it would be better if people actually used their brains and cheered for another team to win for once. I mean c’mon look at this list of champs since 2000: Lakers, Lakers, Lakers, Spurs, Pistons, Spurs, Heat, Spurs, Celtics, Lakers, Lakers, Mavs, Heat, Heat.
    I mean jeez only 6 teams since 2000 and only 8 teams have won since 1984! That’s pathetic and VERY lopsided! It doesn’t come close to the list of champs in the NHL, MLB, and NFL so rebell against the Heat and Lebron or else have déjà vu FOREVER!

    • Justafan says:

      Rebel for the sake of rebelling??

      You are weird.

      everyone who is a basketfall fan should recognised a great player when they see 1. and Not hate and cling on to past experiences. Change is the only thing that is constant

      • Andrew says:

        I’m not talking about past experiences. I’m saying that you should want another team to win for once that hasn’t won in 30 years or more! Unless your a Miami fan there is no reason to cheer for a team that bought its way to victory just like some of the 8 teams did. It’s really stupid how the NBA has a soft cap so teams can stack up and dominate an entire decade with 5 championships in 10 years, while fans in other cities who are die hard fans may never see their favorite team win it all. It makes no sense how an absolute terrible sports city, I mean terrible sports city like Miami can have 5 championships in a decade even though the crowd is bandwagon fans and most leave the game early…. Seriously there is no reason for me to like the Heat, because they have stolen championships away from 22 other cities in the NBA. So don’t call me weird, you’re the one who has no idea what I’m talking about.

  34. Vishal says:

    yoo K Rod. i think you are delusional. i am a heat fan and die hard lebron fan but i dont think your comment is based on facts. The LA Lakers team that won the championship in 09 was in the NBA FINAL in 2008. They have been a championshio team since the year 08. They had a good Organization and played a good brand of basketball and very well coached by a HOF Coach with the most NBA CHAMPIONSHIP. HE is in the same Category as BILL RUSSELL. with 11 RINGS. based on those reason i believe KOBE BRYANT should be in that gay list of yours. Who says that?? list of players who were the man of their championship team.??? DUDE ITS BASKETBALL. ITS A 5 on 5 GAME. Its the effort of the organisation as whole that brings a championship NOT THE STARS.

    • Anonymous says:

      Finally some common sense, people have to stop saying that no 1 Cleveland was a bad team and no 2 that how good you are is how many good teammates you have when you win a championship, basketball is a team game without help it would not be possible to win a championship, without teammates that is one on five hardly fair. Lebron is really good (still overated but good) but saying he has not had any help to win 2 championships (which lets face it is not a dynasty people) so that means he is the greatest of all time is BS

      • LBJthaking!!!! says:

        Why dunt u just watch Lebron James. Watch every game and his skills will do the talking. He is the best just face it he came from a team that can’t win anything. It’s called speaking the truth. Cavs wer very bad with Lebron on the team. Lebron was the team. He took over the past 2 years. He deserves to be the best!!

  35. tmaciverson says:

    jeaa boyh!

  36. K-Rod says:

    Given, not earned? Magic had 3 HOF players in his teams, Bird had a he’ll of a team, and Jordan had 2 HOF players + a ridiculously deep team, which its ’96 version is considered by many as the greatest NBA team of all time, and by looking at their record, it is hard to argue against it. Shaq was The MAN in Kobe’s first three rings, and struggled until the Lakers brought a championship team around him. We don’t even have to talk about the ’08 Celtics, and the Spurs were the best team overall in the past decade with three sure first ballot HOF players who pkayed together in their prime. Let’s remember something here, LeBron and Jordan are the only players in this list who were THE MAN in all of their respective championship teams, which is something that no other player in this list can say.

  37. PC3 @swhtown20 says:

    lol some one compared the lakers to the MIA Heat SMH…Lebron James Is the #1 player in the World for a long time now 4MVP s in 5 seasons,2 Rings 2Finals MVP not to mention all the finals this guy has been too with a bad team in Cleveland remarkable this guy last season improved FG% 50+ which is what Jordan averaged for career..Ladies & Gentlemen were are Witnessing History Lebron will break most records & will go down as the greatest player of all time The GOAT Simply Put Amazing

  38. Hate will FAIL... says:

    There goes the haters… Keep on throwing bad comments. let’s see what will happen after the game on Tuesday. Noah 100%, D-Rose (your my idol too man.), came back. If they’ll lose, whats the next reason? Hinrich’s injured??? don’t make me laugh. Your not just satisfied with Lebron’s stats and performance because of hatred. Lots of NBA and Lebron fans learned how to hate and compare other great players because haters are not satisfied with the truth and what Lebron did and accomplished. Haters will not get satisfaction and contentment until Lebron James fails, it’s fine guys. The champ will just prolong your agony. Peace up! Ya’ll…

  39. chris says:

    just 20 seconds into the video on growing up and already lies. I’m pretty sure MJ didn’t win a championship until 28 years old and came up second to the bad boys in detroit for a long time before getting over that hump. stop trying to hype LBJ and just stick to the facts… its lies like this that have people thinking James Harden is the best shooting guard in the league right now hahaha

  40. LBJKIN6JAMES says:

    AT THE END OF THE DAY LEBRON’S GAME DOES THE TALKING FOR HIM … HE IS ONLY 28 YEARS OLD AND HAS ALREADY ACCOMPLISHED AS MUCH AS HE HAS ALREADY. AND THE SCARY PART IS THAT HE IS JUST NOW ENTERING HIS PRIME YEARS (28-32). WHEN HE FINISHES HIS CAREER HE WILL GO DOWN AS ARGUABLY THE BEST PLAYER TO EVER PLAY THE GAME OF BASKETBALL. LBJ WILL THE GOAT!!!

    • malikdamon says:

      You can’t even say LeBron reached his prime yet since he gets better every season we haven’t seen him in his prime

    • malikdamon says:

      You can’t even say LeBron is in his prime yet since he gets better every season, but hopefully he gets even way better this season

    • LeggoHEAT says:

      That’s nice, but we really can’t tell for sure. Only time can tell if he becomes GOAT.

  41. LS says:

    This season is starting out as all the others since LeBron joined the HEAT – LeBron, LeBron, LeBron. Honest to goodness, isn’t there any other player worthy enough for nba.com to feature. This is the most lopsided, biased coverage I’ve ever seen. There really are some great players in the NBA that fans would like to read about. Let’s go for a small percentage of balanced coverage this year – start with 10% and work your way up.

    • LeggoHEAT says:

      There had been a lot of players featured in this site, it just so happens that LBJ is the MVP. Kobe had the same treatment a couple years back. And it’s not every single day about LBJ, you probably just don’t like him enough to be too annoyed when he gets a full feature.

  42. Peter Griffin says:

    Lebron will never be the greatest of all time. Never!

    • Tony Moua says:

      Okay mr family guy everyone knows your iQ is matched with a baby

    • YoYo says:

      Said peter griffin….RIGHT!!!

    • LeggoHEAT says:

      Aww poor you, you must be very sad that LBJ is on a roll now :D

    • LBJthaking!!!! says:

      Hey Lebron is still very young and its scary that he’s getting better as an all around player. Dunt u ever say never bout the king!! It’s not his fault when he turned 18 he had to be on Cleveland cavs the city of pity and ring less since 1964. Please he can be the best of all time….. He’s far from being done

  43. IgnoranceisNOTBliss says:

    Given not deserved? Thats just ignorance and a slap in the face to everyone they faced. If game 6 didn’t pan out out the way it did at the end of the 4th it would definitely be the spurs winning. There wasn’t too many other outcomes with the heat coming back. And 6+ top five? Lol ur a joke bro

    • LBJKIN6JAMES says:

      don’t even waste your time responding to idiots like that, he’s just a troll looking to get reactions from people lol.

  44. mee(a)t says:

    Heat love being in a 3-2 game situation..are they masochists?

  45. underdog says:

    Still not a champion.. even if it was just Bosh and Wade.. the Heat would have been champions and that would have been well deserved.. then LeBron joined them and killed the competition.. now they have how many, 6+ top5 pick players? (LeBron(1), Bosh(4), Wade(5), Allen(5), Beasley(2), Oden(1)) naah.. those rings, not deserved, it was given, not earned..

    • mee(a)t says:

      Even if it was just wade and bosh? I think you just hate Lebron

      • LBJKIN6JAMES says:

        how did you figure that out? LOL
        don’t even waste your time on the few remaining LeBron haters. They’re arguments have no meaning and they just sound pathetic at this point LOL

      • LeBron can’t win on his own obviously, he is too mentally weak, he isn’t clutch at all unlike *cough* Kobe *cough*…his legacy was saved by that 3 pointer by Allen, and even though they have 6+ top 5 picks this year…they won’t be able to reach the finals…bulls and pacers will be there to stop them

      • P says:

        How can you say that when Kobe had Rick Fox and that one guy with 7 chips as a Rocket/Laker and Spurs to make game winning shots in the finals lol owe not to mention kobe lost 2 NBA finals, on top of having SHAQ; futher more, Lebron has beating both KD and the spurs to win. SO yes Jesus came through to save the series but Lebron still had 30 plus points on average a game. NO ARGUMENTS!!!!

    • Game Time says:

      I could have sworn that San Antonio had it all wrapped up until James and Allen hit those 3s. It happens man. Nothing is given and it was earned. Lakers had four HOF players on their squad last year and got swept 1st round. And it’s all about management being able to work deals, and waiting for the right time to pick up players. Miami started out with 3 stars and nothing but scrubs. They slightly improved the 2nd year with Shane, and the 3rd year was when they finally got deep with Allen, Lewis and Birdman. Beasley was on the market for awhile after getting booted and Miami picked him up. Oden is still not a guarantee. Stop hating.

    • Browness says:

      You’re just a hater.

    • the fact says:

      and also those kawhi leonard free throw, bosh rebound and allen three point

    • tyrone slothrop says:

      So freaking stupid. Wow.

      • pistol pete says:

        lol if anyone thinks just bosh and wade could win a championship they’re NBA IQ is just plain awful. Take it from a die hard raptors fan – i watch 75-80 raptors games per season (as well as a lot of other teams). I watched bosh grow as a player. He is the softest playerin the NBA by FAR. Bosh could draw a foul on my grandmother in the paint, he’d run at her, bounce off her like a rag doll, yell “BRRRAAAHHH” and get his two shots, no chance of finishing the 3 point play because the threw the ball up in the air somewhere random to make sure he got a call. Not to mention the man cannot rebound. How many rebounds did he get in the final game of the season? 0.

    • Cris says:

      Your stupid af and a hater. just cause your team cant do what Heat did and that’s to create a Dynasty.. your just bitter cause the team you root for didn’t do it.

    • LBJKIN6JAMES says:

      @ underdog

      your just trolling to get reactions out of people… everything you said is beyond stupid.

    • Jeremy says:

      are you stupid? greg oden and michael beasley wasnt even on the team last year!?!?

    • Fred Bread says:

      So Wade would’ve carried the heat through the playoffs last year?

    • Tony Moua says:

      Hater. I bet you are a Cleveland fan huh. Lol bruh you need to quit hating and enjoy talent while it last because once the talent is gone ita gone forever and every other talent is different but talent should be enjoyed not hated for ones action to make himself better.

    • Agudo says:

      Just wade and bosh huh… You’re funny

    • LeggoHEAT says:

      Haha I feel sorry for you, you’re too deep in denial :D

    • LBJthaking!!!! says:

      hahahahahahahahhahhhh deal with it buddy. Lebron did earn it. He’s a beast. He carried the cavs just like he carried miami. The only difference is miami actually had a good team. If you guys hate soo much why are u soo fascinated by reading everything that has to do with lebron? He’s everywher and clearly the best all around player. If i hated someone soo much i wuldnt b reading bout them so obviously u can’t resist!!!

    • Jhayzc says:

      what can you say about the line up of LA Lakers last season? was it given too?

    • Witness says:

      hahahahhaha keep on hatin

    • Landry says:

      You’re just hating on LeBron… Your arguments aren’t valid at all!