For the fourth time in his career, LeBron James is a champion. For the fourth time, he's also the NBA Finals MVP.
James was awarded the honor after the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Miami Heat 106-93 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night, winning the series 4-2. That made him the first player in NBA history to be named the Finals MVP with three different teams.
He received all 11 first-place votes.
James was excellent in the closeout game, posting a triple-double with 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists. It was his 28th career postseason triple-double, trailing only Magic Johnson (30) in NBA history. It wasn't a surprise—James didn't have a bad game in the series:
- Game 1: 25 points, 13 rebounds nine assists
- Game 2: 33 points, nine rebounds, nine assists
- Game 3: 25 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists
- Game 4: 28 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists
- Game 5: 40 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists, three steals
There wasn't much debate that James deserved the award:
Kevin O'Connor @KevinOConnorNBA
LeBron James is clearly the Finals MVP. He scored or assisted on over 50 Lakers points per game and played great tone-setting defense. Anthony Davis was amazing as a finisher and enforcer but LeBron is the engine who made all things possible for this team to win the championship. https://t.co/KdYjAjze4E
James beat the Heat in various ways throughout this series, but Sunday night, he was impossible to stop once he lowered his head and powered to the rim:
To be fair to the Heat, they aren't the first team that James has abused at the basket. Few players in NBA history have been harder to stop in transition or attacking the basket. He's...different.
In the past year, a debate that wasn't in question throughout most of James' career, given his dominance, resurfaced: Who is the best player in the NBA? Giannis Antetokounmpo has won two straight MVPs. Kawhi Leonard is a two-way force who led the Toronto Raptors to a title last year before signing with the Los Angeles Clippers. A healthy Kevin Durant is arguably the most unguardable player in basketball.
This year, however, James reminded the NBA world that, even at the age of 35, he's still the best basketball player alive. Whether he's the best basketball player ever is a different argument altogether. The Michael Jordan stans would like a word.
But in the modern NBA, the crown remains atop King James' head.