Miami Heat's LeBron James
LeBron James turned in a rather stellar 2012.
During the calendar year that ends in about a week, James won his third MVP award and his first NBA Finals MVP award along with securing his first NBA championship.
In the process, he was a walking highlight reel.
So far this season, James continues to be excellent, once again.
He's never before looked as relaxed and as comfortable with his own talents as he has in 2012, and he's a legitimate threat to win the MVP award again for a fourth time this season.
Sandwiched in between all of that is the Olympic gold medal that he obtained when he led Team USA to victory in London this past summer.
The 2012 definitive highlight reel that I've assembled, however, is meant to commemorate all of that while focusing on his most spectacular on-court, NBA action.
Besides not including James' run through the Olympics, I also didn't include ring ceremonies, trophy presentations or any other non-game related activities.
I forced myself to "limit" this highlight reel to 20 plays, too. There are certainly many more that are worthy of being mentioned—hundreds more in fact.
But these 20 highlights are meant to summarize the totality of range and talent that James displayed in NBA action over the course of this calendar year.
Also, specifically included, are two highlights from each postseason series along with plays from this current regular season as well as the previous one.
LeBron James began 2012 with this highlight, leaping all the way over the Chicago Bulls' John Lucas for the emphatic slam.
All Lucas could do was stand there and watch. Nobody can blame him for that, either.
Early this year, James drove baseline out of the triple-threat position against the Milwaukee Bucks' Mike Dunleavy.
What he does upon arrival at the basket was ridiculous. Dunleavy, or anyone else on the floor, never had a chance to stop him.
There isn't anyone in the NBA better at timing up the chase-down block than LeBron James.
This particular block, against the Portland Trail Blazers Raymond Felton, was one of James' best to date.
He comes from behind to completely smash the Felton field goal attempt, possibly leaving a dent on the backboard.
This was more of your traditional, straight down the lane, one-handed hammer-style highlight.
Maybe it was not as fancy as others, but it was supremely powerful. This is the type of play that had to be pretty intimidating for those wearing a Bucks jersey that night.
In less than one minute, James fills up the box score with two blocks and an assist.
He never needs to cross half court in order to help his team score, either.
Tyson Chandler is a self-respecting seven-footer who was named Third Team All-NBA last season.
He felt like he had an opportunity to dunk on LeBron James so he went for it.
The outcome, however, was not good for Chandler.
In the first round of the 2012 playoffs, James finishes strong off the lob pass from Dwyane Wade.
This play served as an example of how both Wade and James played increasingly well with each other as 2012 went on.
Here's another lob from D-Wade.
This is also what I meant in the last slide about these two guys playing well off each other during these last 12 months.
The lob pass from Wade was spectacular, as was the finish by James.
Roy Hibbert was an All-Star last season. He was also the heart of the Indiana Pacers defensive attack.
James drove right at the Pacers' big man during this postseason highlight, finishing strong while absorbing the foul.
What's important to note on this highlight against the Boston Celtics is exactly how high James gets on the play.
The basketball is well over the painted box on the backboard. LeBron's elbow is also well over the rim.
LeBron connected on this long-range bomb against the Celtics during the 2012 playoffs.
The crowd exploded when he did, as they should.
LeBron first moved past Kevin Durant on this highlight.
He gets the continuation call on the bump and then dunks over Kendrick Perkins just as the NBA Finals began.
LeBron had his full repertoire on display in the NBA Finals.
He defended, finished strong at the rim, created for others, rebounded the basketball and connected on long-range jumpers like this one too.
Maybe there are other highlights better than this one in 2012.
For me, catching the basketball with one hand while flying through the air, however, is a detail that I've grown to appreciate.
This is the specific move that LeBron uses here on the feed from Mario Chalmers.
LeBron James zipped this pass in between defenders like he was impersonating Peyton Manning.
He followed Ray Allen on the cut and then found him with the spectacular assist in the halfcourt set.
Poor Raymond Felton.
The New York Knicks' disguise didn't fool James.
Just like he did while Felton was playing with the Portland Trail Blazers earlier in this calendar year, LeBron chased Felton down again for the emphatic block.
I'd imagine Ray will kick out to an open three-point shooter the next time he's in a similar situation.
The announcer couldn't have described LeBron's attack of the basket on this particular play against the New Orleans Hornets any better.
He is a freight train that nobody in this league can slow down. They can only hope he derails—something that never happened during 2012.
LeBron's talents may be better summarized in this highlight than even some of his high-flying finishes.
Dwyane Wade knows that if he simply launches the basketball up near James, he'll then go out and get it, no matter who's around.
Which is what he does against the Dallas Mavericks here in this highlight in response to Wade's full-court heave.