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.
You May Like
Sign Up for our Newsletter
Don't get stuck on the sidelines! Sign up to get exclusives, daily highlights, analysis and more—delivered right to your inbox!