James got his long-awaited title by leading Miami past Oklahoma City in five games. LeBron had a triple-double of points, rebounds and assists in the Game 5 clincher. He became the 10th player to win the regular-season MVP and Finals MVP in the same season.
2 of 28John W. McDonough/SI
The Dallas forward averaged 26 points and 9.7 rebounds to lead the Mavericks to their first title. The Mavs beat the Heat 4-2.
3 of 28Mike Blake/Reuters
The Lakers' shooting guard was the first player to win back-to-back MVP honors since former teammate Shaquille O'Neal won three in a row from 2000-02, first leading L.A. past Orlando in 2009 and then past Boston in 2010.
4 of 28Bob Rosato/SI
The Celtics' forward joined with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to lead Boston to its record 17th championship.
5 of 28John G. Mabanglo/EPA/Landov
Spurs point guard Parker managed to wrestle a Finals MVP away from teammate Tim Duncan as he led the Spurs to a 4-0 sweep of the Cavaliers. The crafty playmaker averaged 24.5 points while shooting nearly 57 percent from the field. Parker, who's from France, became the first European-born NBA Finals MVP.
6 of 28Eric Gay/AP
The third-year Miami guard almost single-handedly led the Heat to a 4-2 series win over the Mavericks. The Heat were down 2-0 in the series and trailed by double figures late in Game 3 before Wade led them back. He scored 42, 36 and 43 points, respectively, in Games 3, 4 and 5 as the Heat took control of the series. He finished with a series average of 34.7 points.
7 of 28John Biever/SI
Duncan made his first postseason mark in the '99 Finals against the Knicks. New York had no answers for the talented San Antonio big man, as he averaged 27.3 points and 14 rebounds in a 4-1 series victory. In '03, Duncan dominated the Nets in the Finals, averaging 24.2 points, 17 rebounds and 5.3 blocks in a 4-2 series win. And against the defending champion Pistons in 2005, Duncan had 25 points and 11 boards in San Antonio's decisive Game 7 victory.
8 of 28John W. McDonough/SI
The heady point guard led Detroit to a five-game upset of the Lakers, averaging 21 points (on 51 percent shooting) and 5.2 assists.
9 of 28Gary Hershorn/Reuters
In 2000, the "Big Aristotle" put together one of the greatest Finals in NBA history as the Lakers rolled over the Pacers 4-2. O'Neal averaged 38 points, 16.7 rebounds and 2.7 blocks. The following year, the Lakers dispatched Philadelphia 4-1. Shaq averaged 33 points, 15.6 rebounds and 3.4 blocks. Capping the three-peat, the Lakers swept the Nets in '02, led again by their big center, who averaged 36.3 points, 12.3 rebounds and 2.8 blocks.
10 of 28Manny Millan/SI
Jordan cemented his legacy with dominant performances in each of the Bulls' six championships. He put up absurd scoring totals in his first three Finals, averaging 31.2 points in a 4-1 defeat of the Lakers, 35.8 points in a 4-2 defeat of the Trail Blazers and a whopping 41 points (with 8.5 rebounds and 6.3 assists) in a 4-2 triumph over the Suns. After coming out of retirement, Jordan picked up where he left off in the 1996 Finals against the SuperSonics, averaging 27.3 points in Chicago's 4-2 series win. The Bulls' last two Finals victories came against the Jazz. In '97, Jordan famously scored 38 points while batting the flu in a Game 5 victory. In Jordan's final championship series, he nailed the serires-winning jumper in Game 6.
11 of 28Manny Millan/SI
Olajuwon outplayed Patrick Ewing in the seven-game 1994 Finals, averaging 26.9 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.9 blocks. He became the only player in NBA history to win MVP, Defensive Player of the Year and Finals MVP in the same season. In the '95 Finals, Olajuwon bested Shaquille O'Neal and the Magic. Olajuwon outscored Shaq in every game in the sweep, averaging 33 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.8 blocks.
12 of 28Manny Millan/SI
The speedy point guard led the Pistons to their second championship in a row with a combination of timely scoring and precision passing. Detroit beat the Trail Blazers 4-1 as Thomas averaged 27.6 points and 7 assists.
13 of 28Manny Millan/SI
The 6-3 Pistons guard led the Pistons in scoring with 27.3 points as they swept the Lakers and won their first NBA championship. Dumars displayed suffocating defense in the playoffs, primarily on Michael Jordan, whose Bulls lost to the Pistons in the Eastern Conference finals.
14 of 28John W. McDonough/SI
With the Lakers trailing the Pistons 3-2 heading into Game 6, "Big Game James" pumped in 28 points and nine rebounds to keep L.A.'s season alive. And in Game 7, he had one of the most memorable triple-doubles in NBA history, going for 36 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists in a close victory.
15 of 28Manny Millan/SI
Magic was the Finals MVP three times for the Lakers the '80s. In his rookie season (1980) he was forced to play center in Game 6 against the Sixers because of an injury to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Magic finished the clinching game with 42 points, 15 rebounds and six assists, one of the great performances of all time. The Lakers beat Philadelphia again in 1982. In 1987, matched against the Celtics, Magic had another all-time series, averaging 26.2 points, 13 assists, eight rebounds and 2.3 steals as the Lakers won in six games.
16 of 28Andy Hayt/SI
The 1984 Finals was the first of Bird's legendary matchups with college rival and Lakers star Magic Johnson. Bird averaged 27.4 points and 14 rebounds as Boston outlasted L.A. in Game 7. In 1986, Boston defeated the Houston Rockets 4-2 with Bird nearly averaging a triple-double with his 24 points, 9.7 rebounds and 9.5 assists.
17 of 28Manny Millan/SI
The dominant center is the only player to win the Finals MVP with two franchises. In 1971, Abdul-Jabbar averaged 27 points and 18.5 rebounds in the Bucks' four-game romp over the Baltimore Bullets. Fourteen years later, Kareem won MVP again, averaging 25.7 points and 10 rebounds in the Lakers' 4-2 series win over the Celtics.
18 of 28Manny Millan/SI
Malone dominated the Lakers with averages of 25.8 points, 18 rebounds and 4.3 blocks as the Sixers swept the series to complete a 12-1 postseason.
19 of 28Walter Iooss Jr./SI
Often overlooked because of the quality of his teammates, Maxwell got his due in helping Boston defeat Houston in six games. Maxwell averaged 17.7 points and 9.5 rebounds in the series.
20 of 28Walter Iooss Jr./SI
After losing to the Bullets the year before, Johnson and his SuperSonics were out for revenge in 1979. After Seattle dropped the first game, the crafty guard led Seattle to four straight wins and a title.
21 of 28Walter Iooss Jr./SI
Unseld was not a typical Finals MVP as his best attributes didn't always show up on the stat sheet. He averaged nine points in the Washington Bullets' 4-3 win over the Seattle SuperSonics. It was Unseld's rebounding (11.7 per game), defense and hustle that set the tone for the championship run.
22 of 28Walter Iooss Jr./SI
The 1977 Portland Trail Blazers were the ultimate Cinderella story. Few people predicted them to go anywhere before the season started, and even when they defied expectations to get to the Finals, few picked them to defeat the Philadelphia 76ers. Led by Walton, who averaged 18.5 points, 19 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 3.6 blocks, the Trail Blazers finished off their magical run with a 4-2 series victory.
23 of 28Dick Raphael/SI
The often underrated White was the MVP of the Celtics' 4-2 victory over the Suns. He scored 21.7 points per game, but really stood out in Game 5 -- often called the best game in NBA history. In the triple-overtime thriller, White scored 33 points, had nine assists and played for 60 minutes.
24 of 28Neil Leifer/SI
Barry led the underdog Golden State Warriors to a 4-0 sweep over the Washington Bullets. He outplayed Washington stars Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes and finished the series averaging 29.5 points and 3.5 steals.
25 of 28Walter Iooss Jr./SI
This was the seventh of Havlicek's eight titles with the Celtics, who held off Milwaukee in seven games. Havlicek scored 26, 28, 28 and 16 points in Boston's four victories.
26 of 28Bettmann/CORBIS
In 1970, the Knicks' big man he averaged 23 points and 10.5 rebounds in a seven-game victory against the Lakers. He is best known for his dramatic return to the court in Game 7 after tearing his thigh muscle earlier in the series. Three years later, the Knicks took down the Lakers again, this time by a 4-1 count. Reed averaged 16.4 points and 9.2 rebounds.
27 of 28Sheedy & Long
In his second-to-last season, Chamberlain had a monster Finals performance against the Knicks. Fighting through a broken hand, Chamberlain averaged 19.4 points and 23.2 rebounds as the Lakers dismantled New York 4-1.
28 of 28Walter Iooss Jr./SI
West is the only Finals MVP to have played for the losing team. The Lakers' guard scored 94 points in the first two games against the rival Celtics, but faced constant double teams afterward and suffered a pulled hamstring in Game 5. He still managed to lead the Lakers to a Game 7. In the finale, he had one of the greatest performances in Finals history, scoring 42 points to go along with 13 rebounds and 12 assists in a losing effort.
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!