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Was LeBron James' 2012 NBA Finals Performance the Best Since Michael Jordan?

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 21:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat looks to pass in the first quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Five of the 2012 NBA Finals on June 21, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Matt ShetlerCorrespondent IJune 22, 2012

LeBron James finally got his ring, and he did it the right way. He simply took it.

The Oklahoma City Thunder and the rest of the NBA had no answer for LBJ during this entire postseason, and the excellence that NBA fans saw from King James was something we haven't seen since the days when Michael Jordan was busy three-peating in Chicago.

The likes of Dirk Nowitzki, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant have put together dominant Finals performances since 1998 when Jordan won the last of his six championships, but no one since then has put together the dominant playoff run that LeBron just did to capture his first title.

Just look at what LBJ accomplished the entire postseason.

He not only got to lift the Larry O'Brien trophy for the first time but did so by averaging 30.3 points, 9.7 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 1.9 steals, all while shooting 50 percent from the floor.

In addition, he closed out the Thunder with a 26 point, 13 assist, 11 rebound triple-double.

Dominance is the appropriate word, and we haven't seen that type of play since Jordan.

MJ averaged over 30.7 points per game in 12 of his 13 postseason appearances. The game was much different then, but during his title years he was unstoppable.

You knew Jordan would get the ball and there was nothing you could do about it. That's the quality James had this year.

Kobe had a couple of nice playoff runs in 2001, when he averaged 29.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and 6.1 assists, and in 2009, when he averaged 30.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.5 assists resulting a pair of championships.

But even with the heroics of Bryant, the run LeBron just had was better, considering the pressure he was under.

James has a long way to go before he equals the likes of MJ, or even Kobe, when it comes to postseason success, but for one small stretch for the Miami Heat, what LeBron just accomplished was something that was definitely reminiscent of the days of Jordan.

 

Follow Matt Shetler on Twitter for news, reaction and analysis from around the NBA.

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