Thursday marks 17 years to the day since LeBron James made his NBA debut with the Cleveland Cavaliers against the Sacramento Kings.

The number one overall draft pick, who had 25 points in his first game, went on to win the Rookie of the Year award in 2003-04 and has been at the forefront of the league ever since.

James has been MVP on four occasions and earlier this month collected his fourth championship ring, also winning Finals MVP for a fourth time at the age of 35.

Only three other players have been named Finals MVP after their 35th birthday: fellow greats Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and, of course, Michael Jordan.

But how did they fare in the final years of their careers after being the main men on title-winning teams as veterans? And how might that colour what we can expect from LeBron beyond year 17?

We use Stats Perform Data to take a look.
 

WILT CHAMBERLAIN - 1972 Finals MVP, aged 35

The Finals MVP award was not introduced until the 1969 series when Chamberlain was already in his 30s – by then an NBA champion with the Philadelphia 76ers and a four-time MVP – but he was belatedly recognised as he guided the Lakers past the New York Knicks three years later, winning their first title since moving to Los Angeles.

But Wilt would not then go on to add to his honours as he played just one more season before retiring.

The veteran still played all 82 regular season games in 1972-73, averaging more minutes (43.2) than in the championship-winning campaign, but he endured the lowest scoring year of his career, with 13.2 points per game. He had peaked at 50.4 points 11 years earlier.

Shooting less regularly, there were still flashes of Chamberlain's old magic as he remarkably had the NBA's highest all-time field-goal percentage across a season (minimum 500 attempts) with 72.7 per cent made. Only DeAndre Jordan in three straight seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers – between 2014 and 2017 – has shot above 70 per cent.

The Lakers will certainly hope James does not go down the same path, having been backed to play into his 40s by LA assistant Jason Kidd and former Miami Heat team-mate Dwyane Wade.
 

KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR - 1985 Finals MVP, aged 38

Abdul-Jabbar won his first Finals MVP with the Milwaukee Bucks the year before Chamberlain's but, despite collecting two more rings in the interim, had to wait until 1985 to be hailed again as the postseason's outstanding player. Kareem outperformed Lakers team-mate Magic Johnson – 12 years his junior – as they beat the Boston Celtics and he became the oldest NBA Finals MVP.

And yet his career was not over, with the support of Johnson surely an example the 2020 Lakers would like to follow as Anthony Davis aids LeBron.

Abdul-Jabbar's production actually improved in the season he turned 39 – scoring 23.4 points per game, up from 22.0 – but that would be the last year he averaged at least 20.0, ending a record 17-season streak that has since been matched by Karl Malone and James, who can surpass that mark in 2020-21.

The Lakers kept winning as Kareem's numbers understandably dropped, though, taking the title in 1987 and 1988 – led by Johnson and James Worthy.

A 42-year-old Abdul-Jabbar retired in 1989 after seeing his field-goal percentage dip below 50 per cent in a season for the first time at 47.5. His astounding 19-year stretch of making more than half of his attempts stands as a record, later tied by Shaquille O'Neal.


MICHAEL JORDAN - 1998 Finals MVP, aged 35

Jordan might be considered the clear rival to James in the 'GOAT' debate, but LeBron is not likely to follow in MJ's footsteps after his 'Last Dance' with the Chicago Bulls in 1998. Beating the Utah Jazz, he won a third straight title and a third straight Finals MVP for the second time yet was done at the top level thereafter.

The 35-year-old retired from the sport again, only to return once more in 2001 with the Washington Wizards.

Jordan would donate his salary to relief efforts after the September 11 terror attack but struggled to deliver on the floor as he battled injuries.

The statistics when MJ did appear in 2001-02 – he made 53 starts in 60 regular season games – did not make for great reading. The five-time MVP ranked worst in the league for three-point percentage (minimum 50 attempts) at 18.9 per cent, making just 10. He was 41st of the 48 players who attempted at least 1000 field goals that year at 41.6 per cent.

Jordan quit the sport for good in 2003.
 

LEBRON JAMES - 2020 Finals MVP, aged 35

If Abdul-Jabbar provides the best example of how a superstar should treat the final years of his career, LeBron appears well placed to similarly profit.

With the arrival of Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans last year, James' game changed to incorporate a second elite scorer, becoming a passer as he logged a career-high 10.2 assists per game.

LeBron became the oldest player in NBA history to average 25.0 points and 10.0 assists. No rival has ever managed such a performance past the age of 30, let alone 35.

Crucially, the former Cavs man was also more protected. He visited the foul line less often (down from 7.6 free-throw attempts to 5.7) and recorded fewer rebounds (down from 8.5 to 7.8)

And his 34.6 minutes per game – a career-low – represented the fewest in league history while scoring 25.0 points and 10.0 assists.

With a gruelling next season just around the corner, James is likely to play even fewer minutes again but, alongside Davis, still looks primed to make the difference when it matters most.

Danny Green expects superstar Los Angeles Lakers team-mate LeBron James to rest if the 2020-21 NBA season gets underway on December 22.

The NBA is reportedly planning for a 72-game regular-season schedule, which would begin prior to Christmas Day.

James, 35, helped the Lakers to their first championship in 10 years after topping the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals inside the Orlando bubble amid the coronavirus pandemic earlier this month.

Lakers guard Green, 33, commented on the league's plans for the upcoming campaign.

"If we start in December, I think most guys [are like], 'I'm not going to be there,'" Green told The Ringer NBA Show podcast. "If I had to guess, because we have a lot of vets [veterans] on our team, it's not like we have a lot of young guys or rookies ... to have that quick of a restart, I wouldn't expect to see [LeBron] there.

"I wouldn't expect to see him probably for the first month of the season. He'll probably be working out with us ... but I just don't expect guys to want to be there, or show up willingly.

"I think at this moment, and it might be different in two weeks when guys are like, 'All right, I'm gonna get back in the gym, start working out.'

"When we get back in the gym, it's not right to basketball. It's, 'All right, let me start getting into shape' -- lifting a little bit, start running around a little bit. Then I'll pick up a ball."

James celebrated a fourth league title after posting his 11th Finals triple-double of 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists against the Heat at Walt Disney World Resort, where the Lakers sealed a 4-2 series triumph.

It was his first championship with the Lakers, having struggled for form and fitness during his maiden season in Los Angeles in 2018-19.

James set the record for most postseason appearances with 260, while the veteran became the first player in NBA, MLB, NFL and NHL history to win the Finals MVP with three different teams, having also received the honour with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat, per Stats Perform.

In his 17th season, James moved clear of Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal and Tim Duncan with a fourth Finals MVP – now only trailing Michael Jordan (six).

James is the fourth player all-time to score 30,000-plus points and win four or more championships. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar tops the list with 38,387 points and six titles, ahead of Michael Jordan (32,292 points and six titles) and Kobe Bryant (33,643 points and five titles).

Conquering the NBA with three different teams proves LeBron James has a winning formula and highlights his greatness, according to former team-mate Joel Anthony.

James and the Los Angeles Lakers crushed the Miami Heat 106-93 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Sunday to claim their first championship in 10 years.

The four-time NBA MVP was in typically fine form, breaking the record for most playoff appearances with 260 as he posted an 11th Finals triple-double of 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists.

The win sealed a fourth ring for 16-time All-Star James, who made history by becoming the first player to be named Finals MVP with three different franchises.

Having previously won the championship with the Heat (2012 and 2013) and the Cleveland Cavaliers (2016), helping the Lakers back to the top of the pile was his ultimate goal upon joining in 2018.

Anthony, who was part of James' Heat team that lifted the Larry O'Brien Trophy in successive years, believes the 35-year-old's greatness is summed up by succeeding with three different sides.

"To me, he's always been a winner," Anthony told Stats Perform News. "He's always played on really good teams, for the most part, except for early on in his career where he was still trying to figure things out.

"He's always been able to win but once he took that next step and he was winning championships, I feel he's definitely figured out the type of formula and gets it. He gets it.

"He knows truly what it takes to be able to win at the highest level. It shows, the fact that clearly the man's been able to do it with three different teams. That in itself explains how much he understands and knows what it takes.

"I would say one of the biggest things about him is his mind. Physically, obviously very impressive, and even more so impressive because he's been able to do it for so long.

"He's averaged close to 30, 10 and eight in the finals. Mentally, where he is, to be able to keep his mind sharp and to be able to also lead and inspire those guys, that's the biggest thing to me.

"Even if he was able to play at a certain level, to be able to bring his team along that journey and to be able to lead them, I feel, is what's really impressive because that is an extremely difficult thing to do."

LeBron James is an NBA champion for the fourth time in his career after playing a typically starring role in the Los Angeles Lakers' 4-2 Finals series triumph over the Miami Heat.

A convincing 106-93 Game 6 win on Sunday earned the Lakers a first NBA title in 10 years, while James became the first player to be named Finals MVP with three different franchises.

James was a two-time champion with the Miami Heat and again with the Cleveland Cavaliers four years ago, prior to his latest success with the Lakers.

It is clear the superstar has been an influence in each of his four championship triumphs, but just how influential has he really been?

We crunch the numbers from each of James' four Finals triumphs to take a look.

2012 – Heat beat Thunder 4-1

It was not until his ninth season in the league that James became an NBA champion and it happened in some style as the Heat blew away the Oklahoma City Thunder a year on from losing the Finals to the Dallas Mavericks.

A 105-94 win in Game 1 proved a false dawn for the Thunder and James was already putting his stamp on the series, providing 30 points despite the Heat's defeat.

There were 32 points in a narrow 100-96 win to tie up the series, while a double-double of 29 points and 14 rebounds in the 91-85 Game 3 victory put the Heat into a lead they would not relinquish.

James really showed his superstar status in the next two games: 26 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds set up a 104-98 win for a 3-1 advantage, while in Game 5 there were 26 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds in a memorable triple-double.

On average, James put up 28.6 points, 7.4 assists and 10.2 rebounds per game across the series, while he nailed 47.3 per cent of his field-goal efforts and 16.7 per cent of three-point attempts.

He made 80.8 per cent of free throws and averaged 0.4 blocks, 1.6 steals and 3.8 turnovers.

 

2013 – Heat beat Spurs 4-3

A year on and a great rivalry produced a great series as the Heat overcame the San Antonio Spurs in seven.

Trailing 2-1 in the series, including a 113-77 rout in Game 3, James came to life to level things again with 33 points in a crucial 109-93 triumph in the fourth contest.

But it was Game 6 when James really produced the goods, where officials had already brought out yellow tape to block out the court for the Spurs' trophy celebrations.

A fired-up James played the entirety of the second half and overtime as the Heat emerged 103-100 winners, with their talisman putting up 32 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds – making the go-ahead shot with one minute and 43 seconds of the additional period to play.

He then scored a game-high 37 points in the decider to lead the Heat to back-to-back titles, the only time James has managed this feat in his career.

Throughout the series, James' numbers were 25.3 points, seven assists and 10.9 rebounds per game, while he was 44.2 per cent from the field.

In terms of free throws, James was 68.3 per cent and his success from three-pointers was 34.8 per cent. Defensively, he had 0.9 blocks, 2.3 steals and 2.6 turnovers on average.

 

2016 – Cavs beat Warriors 4-3

Was this James' finest series win?

With the Cavs trailing 3-1, James led the underdogs to a remarkable comeback against the star-studded Golden State Warriors, who they faced in four straight Finals from 2015 to 2018.

James was the catalyst for putting the Cavs on the board in a Game 3 120-90 blowout, scoring 32 points, collecting 11 rebounds and providing six assists.

Remarkably, he put up 41 points in winning efforts in Games 5 and 6, while a triple-double of 27 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in the all-or-nothing decider inspired a 93-89 triumph to help the Cavs win their only series of the four against the Warriors.

In total, James averaged 29.7 points, 11.3 rebounds and 8.9 assists. Additionally, he had a 48.6 per cent field goal success rate and nailed 37.1 per cent of his three-pointers and 71.8 per cent of free-throw attempts.

With 2.3 blocks, 2.6 steals and 4.4 turnovers averaged per games, James also played his part defensively in a famous success.

 

2020 – Lakers beat Heat 4-2

After missing out on the playoffs for the first time in 14 years during his first season with the Lakers, James rebounded in style to defeat a familiar franchise this year.

Playing alongside fellow superstar Anthony Davis, the Lakers ended a difficult 2020 – that included the death of the legendary Kobe Bryant and the disruption to the season caused by the coronavirus pandemic – with championship glory.

James was once again series MVP, starting with a double-double of 25 points and 13 rebounds before putting up 33 points in the 124-114 win in Game 2.

One of his best performances over the six showdowns actually came in a losing effort in Game 5 when 40 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists were not enough to prevent a 111-108 defeat.

But it was business as usual in Game 6, a triple-double of 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists contributing to the 106-93 triumph that ended the Heat's brave resistance.

As you would expect, the numbers show James' influence. He averaged 29.8 points, 8.5 assists and 11.5 rebounds.

He was 58.6 per cent from the field, 60.8 per cent from the free-throw line and drained 39 per cent of three-point shots, while there were 0.5 blocks, 1.2 steals and 3.5 turnovers per game.

Frank Vogel hailed LeBron James as "the greatest player the basketball universe has ever seen" after he inspired the Los Angeles Lakers to end their NBA title drought.

James claimed a triple-double of 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists as the Lakers cruised to a 106-93 Game 6 victory on Sunday to become NBA champions for the first time in a decade.

The legendary James was named NBA Finals MVP for the fourth time and became the first player to land that award for three different franchises.

James is now a four-time NBA champion and Lakers head coach Vogel ranks the 35-year-old as the best player of all time.

Asked about his decision to take the job in May 2019, when there was perceived to be uncertainty around the Lakers, Vogel said: "Well, there's not uncertainty in my mind with LeBron James.

"And [when] I took the job, we didn't have Anthony Davis. We didn't have the whole team. It was a different team after the fact.

"But I have always believed in LeBron James. He's the greatest player the basketball universe has ever seen, and if you think you know, you don't know, okay, until you're around him every day, you're coaching him, you're seeing his mind, you're seeing his adjustments, seeing the way he leads the group. You think you know; you don't know.

"It's just been a remarkable experience coaching him and seeing him take this group that was not in the playoffs last year, the roster was put together overnight, and just taking a group and leading us to the promised land, so they say.

"He was terrific the entire season leading us, and I can't say enough about him."

Vogel paid tribute to the mental strength shown by his players since they entered the bubble at Walt Disney World in Orlando.

He said: "Yeah, I've always believed in our mental toughness, and our experience. Not just LeBron, I believe Anthony Davis was destined to be a champion, and the pairing of the two of them together took us here.

"But the experience of the group, the IQ of the group, [Rajon] Rondo, Danny Green, JaVale McGee having been there, the talent level of the other guys, other guys willing to buy into starring in their roles.

"Just we had a strong belief in this group. When we got into the bubble, it was about focusing on the work, staying in the moment, focusing on day to day, and after one point - I don't know if there was really one point.

"I think beating Portland was a huge confidence booster for us because they were playing as well as anybody in the world. We know what Dame Lillard is capable of, and it just built from each series."

Jimmy Butler feels he "grew in every aspect of the game" this season and is convinced the Miami Heat are "trending in the right direction" despite suffering NBA Finals heartbreak.

A 106-93 defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers in Sunday's Game 6 in Orlando meant the Heat fell to a 4-2 series loss.

Butler's heroics had helped the Heat get to this stage and he averaged 26.2 points, 9.8 assists and 8.3 rebounds throughout the Finals.

Asked what he learnt about himself, Butler replied: "That I'm a decent player. I think that I grew in every aspect of the game.

"So, I can smile about that. More than anything, I've learned that here, me works. Here, I'm always, always, always, always going to believe in my guys.

"I think the one thing that I learned more than anything is how fun it is to play with these guys. It really was fun watching all my young fellas grow, having vets come in and showcase what they can still do and teach me so much. It was a great time."

While hurting from the loss, Butler is convinced this is just the beginning of something special for the Heat.

He added: "We're trending in the right direction. We're going to learn from this. We're going to get better. We're going to come back. We're going to come back. We'll be back. That's what we're all saying in that locker room.

"We got guys that want to do it. We got guys that already want to get back in the gym and get to working at this thing. That's what we do here.

"Like I said, it was a pleasure to play with these guys. We're definitely moving in the right direction."

Butler finally seems to have a settled home in Miami having had short stints at the Minnesota Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers after ending a six-year stay at the Chicago Bulls in 2017.

Head coach Erik Spoelstra believes both team and player have benefitted from one another.

"I think that's what we're all looking for is to be part of a family," he said.

"To be a part of something where you felt all along that you were searching for something. Where you can just be yourself, you don't have to make any apologies for who you are. We have been searching for him for a long time and I think he's been searching for something like us for a while.

"Again, you're in this business to be around amazing people and to develop incredible relationships.

"It is about the game, it is about winning, but it also is about being around locker rooms that you'll remember for a long, long time. I'm just thrilled to be able to have an opportunity to coach Jimmy and have a relationship with him and move forward chasing this dream. It's not going to stop.

"We're all wired the same. So, we'll get over this at some point. I don't expect anybody to get over it tonight.

"But we have some brothers in arms now moving forward that we share the same values and the same goals and that's part of the battle of just finding that kind of alignment."

Anthony Davis opened up on how "respect" for and "true friendship" with LeBron James off the court built the foundations for the duo leading the Los Angeles Lakers to a record-equalling 17th NBA title.

The Lakers clinched a thrilling Finals 4-2 courtesy of a 106-93 defeat of the Miami Heat in Orlando in Sunday's Game 6, after which James was named series MVP.

Davis' first season in LA has been an unmitigated success and he averaged 25 points, 10.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists during the Finals, as well as shooting 57.5 per cent from the field.

The prediction that the signing of Davis to play alongside superstar James would end the Lakers' 10-year title drought came to fruition and the former New Orleans Pelicans star says his relationship with his team-mate was key.

"[It's built on] respect. True friendship. Off the court – we're close on the court, but you've got to see us off the court. It's unreal. I'm always at his house. He's always at my house. This is true the entire season," Davis said.

"There's no jealousy. No one is envious of each other. Guys don't have personal agendas. We're just two guys who just want to win for various reasons. We were able to do it.

"And having a team who gets on us. Do [Rajon Rondo], Duds [Jared Dudley], all these guys are in our ear every single game about being great.

"When you've got a supporting cast like that, who make shots, and big shots for you, it makes our jobs a hell of a lot easier to go out there and just do what we do, knowing that if we have bad games, they pick us up. And if they are playing pretty bad, then we pick them up.

"We have a great team who trusts one another. It starts with me and Bron. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. I challenge him. He challenges me. It's not always sweet and smooth, but it gets the job done.

"You're going to have confrontations and arguments throughout the season to win a championship. We had our fair share. But at the end of the day, we respect one another. We respect what each one is trying to do. I respect his game, he respects my game and we just put it all together."

Davis, who had 19 points, 15 rebounds and three assists in Game 6, is about to enter free agency and said, "I have no idea" and "I'm sure we'll figure it out" when probed about his future.

It seems unthinkable Davis will depart the Lakers and the 27-year-old spoke about the moment he realised he was part of a team capable of winning the championship.

"It was really after the first couple games of the regular season where we would start rolling – playing defense, scoring the basketball – and we realised how great of a team that we are and that we got enough to become champions this year," he added. 

"The entire time here in the bubble, he [James] never let us get too high, never get too low after losses. Just said, 'One game at a time'. And he knows what it takes on both sides, being up in a series and being down in a series and winning."

Towards the end of the game, Davis walked into the back with James chasing after his team-mate and the former revealed some light-hearted ribbing from the latter.

"I was 25 seconds from becoming a champion. I got emotional. It's the type of journey that I've been on, my team has been on, the organization has been on – it all came just full circle with this championship. So, I just got real emotional," he said.

"He [James] was bothering me, saying, 'You're soft. Oh, you cry baby'. I walked to the back, and there was a banner trophy. I kind of grabbed it. Then we walked back out to the court. It was an unbelievable feeling, and just an emotional moment for me."

LeBron James said doubters have fuelled his drive for success after leading the Los Angeles Lakers to their first NBA championship since 2010.

James was crowned Finals MVP for a fourth time as the Lakers outclassed the Miami Heat 106-93 for a 4-2 series triumph at Walt Disney World Resort on Sunday.

Lakers superstar James celebrated a fourth league title after posting his 11th Finals triple-double of 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists in Orlando, Florida.

It is his first championship with the Lakers, having struggled for form and fitness during his maiden season in Los Angeles in 2018-19.

James – who set the record for most postseason appearances with 260 – had a point to prove this season and the 35-year-old capped it with championship and MVP honours.

Often compared to Hall of Famer and six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan as his position among the greats is debated, James told reporters post-game: "I think personally thinking I have something to prove fuels me.

"It fuelled me over this last year and a half since the injury. It fuelled me because no matter what I've done in my career to this point, there's still little rumblings of doubt or comparing me to the history of the game and has he done this, has he done that.

"So having that in my head, having that in my mind, saying to myself, why not still have something to prove, I think it fuels me."

James is the first player in NBA, MLB, NFL and NHL history to win the Finals MVP with three different teams, having also received the honour with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat, per Stats Perform.

In his 17th season, James moved clear of Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal and Tim Duncan with a fourth Finals MVP – now only trailing Michael Jordan (six).

James is the fourth player all-time to score 30,000-plus points and win four or more championships. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar tops the list with 38,387 points and six titles, ahead of Michael Jordan (32,292 points and six titles) and Kobe Bryant (33,643 points and five titles).

The Lakers' 17th championship came amid the coronavirus pandemic, which forced the 2019-20 season to be suspended in March before resuming behind closed doors inside the Orlando bubble in July.

James and the top-seeded Lakers overcame the Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets and Heat en route to a memorable title.

"I can't sit here and say one is more challenging than the other or one is more difficult than the other," James said when asked to compare the difficulty of his championships. "I can just say that I've never won with this atmosphere. None of us have. We've never been a part of this. If you've been here throughout the start -- I mean, we got here July 9th. Our ballclub got here July 9th. It's October 11th now.

"So this was very challenging and difficult. It played with your mind. It played with your body. You're away from some of the things that you're so accustomed to make you be the professional that you are. This is right up there.

"I heard some rumblings from people that are not in the bubble, oh, you don't have to travel, whatever. People just doubting what goes on in here. This is right up there with one of the greatest accomplishments I've had."

James and fellow All-Star Anthony Davis combined to end the Lakers' wait for glory, with the latter tasting success for the first time in his maiden season since joining from the New Orleans Pelicans in a blockbuster deal at the start of the campaign.

"I can't really explain it," James replied when asked about his relationship with Davis. "There's just certain things you just know. And any type of relationship, you know that vibe. You have that respect. You have that drive. Sometimes you can't explain what links you with somebody, and then it's that organic.

"Sometimes, you don't even try to explain it. You guys ask me about my relationship with AD, the first thing I think about is the respect, the no ego, the challenging each other. We want each other to be better than actually ourselves.

"I want AD to be better than me. AD want me to be better than him. Every single night, every single day. And we challenge ourselves. I think that's a part of it."

For the first time since 2010, the Los Angeles Lakers celebrated an NBA championship on Sunday.

The Lakers outclassed the Miami Heat 106-93 in Game 6 to seal a 4-2 series victory in the NBA Finals at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

Lakers superstar LeBron James led the way with a triple-double (28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists) as his fourth league title was capped by a fourth Finals MVP.

As James and the Lakers party inside the Orlando bubble, we look at the numbers behind their success using Stats Perform data.

 

- With a 17th NBA title, the Lakers tied the Boston Celtics for the most championships all-time. The next three teams on the all-time list have combined for 17 titles (Chicago Bulls and Golden State Warriors: 6, San Antonio Spurs: 5).

- The Lakers' plus-6.8 average rebounding margin in this postseason was the highest for any NBA champion since the 2001 Lakers (+7.4).

- Los Angeles are the first team to with the title despite shooting a lower percentage from three-point range than their opponents in the playoffs since the 2000 Lakers.

- The Lakers' 15.4 turnovers per game this postseason were the most by any NBA champion since the 2006 Heat (15.5).

- The Lakers minus-1.9 average turnover margin in the NBA Finals was the worst by a champion since the 2005 Spurs (-5.9).

- James, who broke the record for most playoff appearances with 260 on Sunday, is the fourth player all-time to score 30,000-plus points and win four or more championships. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar tops the list with 38,387 points and six titles, ahead of Michael Jordan (32,292 points and six titles) and Kobe Bryant (33,643 points and five titles).

- James and Danny Green join John Salley and Robert Horry as the only NBA players to win a title with three different teams.

- Former Cleveland Cavaliers and Heat star James is the first player ever to win NBA Finals MVP with three different teams. In fact, no player in MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL history has ever won the championship MVP award with three different teams.

- James averaged 27.6 points, 10.8 rebounds, 8.8 assists, and shot 56.0 per cent from the floor. He is the first player in NBA history to average 25.0-plus points, 10.0-plus rebounds and 8.0-plus assists per game while shooting 50.0-plus per cent from the field in a single postseason (minimum 15 games).

- And at 35 years, 286 days old, James is the second-oldest player to win the Finals MVP, behind only Abdul-Jabbar (38 years, 54 days in 1985).

LeBron James said he wanted respect after leading the Los Angeles Lakers to their first NBA championship in 10 years.

James posted a triple-double of 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists as the Lakers crushed the Miami Heat 106-93 on Sunday to seal a 4-2 series win in the NBA Finals.

The 35-year-old won his fourth title and was later named the NBA Finals MVP for the fourth time in his career.

James was delighted to bring the Lakers a 17th championship, saying he – and the franchise – wanted to be respected.

"It means a lot. It means a lot to represent this franchise," he told ESPN.

"I told Jeanie [Buss, Lakers owner] when I came here that I was going to put this franchise back in a position where it belongs. Her late, great father did it for so many years and she just took it on after that and for me to be part of such a historical franchise is an unbelievable feeling, not only for myself, but for my team-mates, for the organisation, for the coaches, for the trainers, everybody that's here.

"We just want our respect. Rob [Pelinka, Lakers general manager] wants his respect, coach [Frank] Vogel wanted his respect, our organisation want their respect, Laker Nation want their respect and I want my damn respect too."

James' fourth NBA title and Finals MVP further cemented his place among the greatest players of all-time.

But, the 16-time All-Star said he simply wanted to continue delivering for his team-mates.

"One thing I can do is commit to the game. I put myself, my body and my mind in position to be available to my team-mates," James said.

"I've never missed a playoff game in my career and the best thing you can do for your team-mates is be available.

"For me to be available to my team-mates and put in the work, I just hope I make my guys proud and that's all that matters to me. I make my guys proud, make the fan base proud, my family back home, I can't wait to get back home to them, Akron, Ohio, we did it again and that's what it's all about."

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James capped a championship-winning campaign with a fourth NBA Finals Most Valuable Player award.

James secured a fourth title and the Lakers claimed their first championship since 2010 after routing the Miami Heat 106-93 in Game 6 on Sunday.

The 35-year-old's 11th Finals triple-double of 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists helped deliver a 17th championship to the Lakers at Walt Disney World Resort.

James is now the first player in NBA, MLB, NFL and NHL history to win the Finals MVP with three different teams, having also received the honour with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat.

In his 17th season, James moved clear of Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal and Tim Duncan with a fourth MVP – now only trailing Michael Jordan (six).

James also set another NBA playoff record, appearing in his 260th postseason game.

He moved into first place on the all-time list for playoff appearances, surpassing Derek Fisher.

Of the 4,489 players to have participated in an NBA regular-season contest, 63 per cent have not reached 260 games.

The LeBron James-led Los Angeles Lakers annihilated the Miami Heat 106-93 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals to claim their first championship since 2010.

Jimmy Butler and Miami delayed the Lakers' title celebrations by winning Game 5 to stave off elimination at Walt Disney World on Friday.

But there was no denying the red-hot Lakers on Sunday as the storied franchise ended their 10-year wait for glory with a 4-2 series victory in Orlando, Florida.

James – who broke the record for most playoff appearances with 260 – captured a fourth NBA title after posting his 11th Finals triple-double of 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists, while Anthony Davis (19 points and 15 rebounds) had a double-double for his maiden championship.

The Heat were buoyed by the return of star guard Goran Dragic (5 points), who made his comeback from a foot injury, which had sidelined him since Game 1.

But Miami were outplayed from the outset as the Lakers extinguished the Heat with a defensive masterclass.

The Lakers made a hot start, leading 28-20 at the end of the first quarter behind James' nine points, five rebounds and three assists.

Los Angeles showed no mercy as they took a comprehensive 64-36 lead into half-time – 15 points apiece from Davis and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (17 points) fuelling the Lakers.

Rajon Rondo (19 points) dazzled off the bench, managing 13 points on six-of-six shooting from the field while he made his only three-point attempt.

It came as no Heat player scored double-digit points through two quarters.

While the Heat were only outscored by a point in the third quarter, the damage was already done as the Lakers cruised to their 17th NBA championship following a season which saw franchise great Kobe Bryant tragically killed in a helicopter crash alongside his daughter in January.

Bam Adebayo led the steamrolled Heat with 25 points and 10 rebounds, while Butler put up 12 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.

The Los Angeles Lakers claimed their first championship since 2010 and LeBron James won a fourth title after comprehensively sealing a 4-2 series victory over the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.

Miami Heat star Goran Dragic is listed as active for Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Dragic has been sidelined since tearing the plantar fascia in his left foot during the Game 1 loss to the Lakers.

But the Heat guard is back in the fold for Sunday's showdown, though it remains to be seen if he will play.

The Heat trail 3-2 but can level the series and force a deciding Game 7 by beating LeBron James' Lakers at Walt Disney World Resort.

 

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James set another NBA playoff record, appearing in his 260th postseason game.

Game 6 of the NBA Finals between the Lakers and Miami Heat on Sunday saw James move into first place on the all-time list for playoff appearances, surpassing Derek Fisher.

Of the 4,489 players to have participated in an NBA regular-season contest, 63 per cent have not reached 260 games.

The sixth showdown at Walt Disney World Resort is also James' 55th NBA Finals clash – tying Jerry West for fourth in league history as Bill Russell (70) tops the list.

The Lakers lead the Heat 3-2 in the best-of-seven series as the storied franchise stand on the cusp of their first championship since 2010, while James nears a fourth title.

James posted 40 points and 13 rebounds in Friday's Game 5 loss in Orlando, where the 35-year-old became the first player to post 40-plus points in a loss with a chance to clinch in the NBA Finals since Michael Jordan in Game 5 in 1993, per Stats Perform.

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