Back to the Promised Land: LeBron James Makes His Eighth Finals Appearance
LeBron James is set to play in his eighth NBA Finals, continuing a June tradition that has lasted from 2011 to 2018. Below, we look back at LeBron's history in the Finals through the eyes of Sports Illustrated photographers.
May 31, 2018
1 of 7Greg Nelson
LeBron James skies
6/5/2011: LeBron James skies over the Dallas Mavericks in his first Finals appearance as a member of the Miami Heat. In a shocking turn of events, Dirk Nowitzki and Dallas stole the series, 4–2.
2 of 7Greg Nelson
At Your Own Expense
6/14/2012: With Serge Ibaka waiting in the wings, LeBron James propels toward the rim and prepares to throw down a tomahawk dunk. His Miami Heat defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Finals, 4–1.
3 of 7Greg Nelson
Sizing up his foes
6/11/2013: LeBron James sizes up the competition as Kawhi Leonard defends him on the perimeter. The King led the Heat to their second straight NBA Finals championship with a 4–3 series win.
4 of 7Greg Nelson
The King becomes mortal
6/8/2014: With an improved defensive strategy and developed Kawhi Leonard, the San Antonio Spurs take out LeBron James and the Miami Heat, 4–1.
5 of 7Greg Nelson
The Kings returns home
6/4/2015: LeBron James returns to the Cleveland Cavaliers and immediately returns to the NBA Finals. He faced off with the Warriors this time and bumped into a historic team. Forced to play without Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, the Cavaliers lost, 4–2.
6 of 7John W. McDonough
Long live the king
06/16/2016: LeBron James returned with a vengeance—and Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love—to take his third NBA title and deliver the city of Cleveland its first championship in decades. One other benefit for LeBron and the Cavs: Ruining the Warriors 73–9 season.
7 of 7Greg Nelson
LeBron vs. Durant... Again
06/09/2017: The Cavaliers succumbed to the Warriors once again, this time with Kevin Durant on the roster and Golden State on a roll. LeBron James shows up as usual, but loses to Golden State, 4–1.
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