LeBron James is back in the NBA Finals.
After missing last year’s Finals as the Los Angeles Lakers failed to even make the NBA playoffs in James’ first year on the west coast, the 35-year-old returns to the league’s biggest stage for the ninth time in the past 10 years.
Game 1 against the Miami Heat Wednesday will mark James’ 10th appearance in the NBA Finals, a record he shares with just four other players, Bill Russell (12 Finals appearances), Sam Jones (11), and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (10).
And only three franchises have as many appearances in the Finals as James, the Lakers (32 Finals appearances), Boston Celtics (21), and Golden State Warriors (11).
James will also become just the fifth player to reach the Finals in three different decades, joining Tim Duncan, John Salley, A.C. Green, and Elgin Baylor. And he’s the first player to reach the championship series with five different head coaches in Mike Brown (Cleveland Cavaliers), Erik Spoelstra (Heat), David Blatt (Cavs), Ty Lue (Cavs), and Frank Vogel (Lakers).
Some other numbers ahead of the NBA Finals:
- Anthony Davis enters the NBA Finals averaging 28.8 points per game, the most ever by one of James’s teammates and the first time a teammate is averaging more points per game than James.
- The Heat enter the NBA Finals after finishing the regular season with a .603 winning percentage, the fourth lowest mark for a team in the Finals in the last 35 years. Miami is also just the third team seeded fifth or lower to reach the Finals since seeding began in 1984.