Cleveland Cavaliers

LeBron James and the NBA Finals by the numbers

#LeBron James

Say what you will about LeBron James in the scope of all-time greats, but it's hard to deny him as the face of the NBA Finals for an entire generation of basketball fans.

Our friends at Opta dug into the record books to give us a by-the-numbers look into just how synonymous James has become with the NBA Finals over the last decade-plus (if you like what you see, give @OptaLarry a follow on Twitter).

6 - James is just the sixth player in NBA history to reach eight consecutive NBA Finals and the first to do so since a quintet of Boston Celtics from the 1950s and '60s.

Player Consecutive Finals Years
Bill Russell 10 1959-1969
Sam Jones 9 1957-1966
Tom Heinsohn 9 1956-1965
Frank Ramsey 8 1956-1964
K.C. Jones 8 1958-1966
LeBron James 8 2011-2018

2010 - The last time LeBron James was not in the NBA Finals was in 2010 when Kobe Bryant led the Lakers to their 16th NBA title in a seven-game series victory over the Celtics. Here's a breakdown of his nine Finals appearances:

Year Team Opponent Result
2007 Cavaliers Spurs L (4-0)
2011 Heat Mavericks L (4-2)
2012 Heat Thunder W (4-1)
2013 Heat Spurs W (4-3)
2014 Heat Spurs L (4-1)
2015 Cavaliers Warriors L (4-2)
2016 Cavaliers Warriors W (4-3)
2017 Cavaliers Warriors L (4-1)
2018 Cavaliers Warriors ???

3 - James has had three head coaches in the eight Finals appearances - Erik Spoelstra (four), Tyronn Lue (three) and David Blatt (one).

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4 - Entering the 2018 NBA Finals, only four NBA franchises have appeared in the NBA Finals more than eight times. Additionally, only six players have appeared in more than eight NBA Finals (not including James). Among those players - Bill Russell (12), Kareem Abdul-Jabber (10), Magic Johnson (nine) and Jerry West (nine).

8 - Notable players with fewer than eight NBA Finals appearances in their careers: Kobe Bryant (seven), Bob Cousy (seven), Michael Jordan (six), Shaquille O'Neal (six), Wilt Chamberlain (six) and Larry Bird (five)

1 - Before the start of this streak, the Cavaliers had been to one NBA Finals (with James in 2007) and the Heat had been to one NBA Finals (2006).

Game 1 between the Cavaliers and Warriors is set for 9 p.m. ET Thursday on TSN at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif.

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