That headline is a little bit absurd, but Lebron James did indeed make it to his 10th NBA Finals in 11 years. He becomes just the fourth player in NBA history to reach this mark behind Bill Russell (12), Sam Jones (11) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (10), all Hall-of-Famers.
James dropped an emphatic 38-16-10 triple-double in the 117-107 win in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals against the Denver Nuggets, but he showed a rather surprising lack of emotion.
He just made it to his 10th NBA Finals, why isn’t the guy happy? Well, he had this to say to ESPN: “Right now, it don’t mean s— unless I get it done. I got to get it done.”
Of the 10 finals he’s been to, he’s won three. That’s not good enough for him. He holds himself to a higher standard than that. If he can’t finish this thing out, against either the Boston Celtics or Miami Heat (as of noon, 9/27) then it doesn’t matter for him.
As his whole team was celebrating the win on the court, James sat courtside with his arms crossed looking rather unimpressed and unamused.
The Los Angeles Lakers missed out on the playoffs the last six seasons. Insert James and Anthony Davis and it’s no surprise they’re in The Finals. But throughout all that, despite what he has done for the team, James is still humble as ever.
“We’re going to enjoy it tonight, as we should, because this is not promised every year,” James told ESPN. “We can’t take this for granted, because this doesn’t happen every year to anybody.”
That’s true. Not everybody makes it to the playoffs 13 out of their 16 seasons in the league. Not a lot of people even make it 16 seasons, let alone be so consistent as to always find themselves in the playoffs. With this feat, James has now been to more finals than 27 other teams. Not players, whole organizations.
He helped the Lakers get to their record 32nd NBA Finals, but now it’s time to get it done, and I believe he will. But, it doesn’t matter if I believe he will, it matters if he believes he can, and he does, once again humbly.
“My shoulders are wide enough to carry a lot of the load,” James said after accepting the Western Conference championship trophy. “But my mind is stronger. Always keep my mind strong. And I’m happy to be in this position.”