“Not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven,” said LeBron James when he first came to Miami. He was referring to the number of championships he’d win for the Heat franchise.
“I really believe it. I’m not just up hearing blowing smoke at none of these fans, because that's not what I'm about,” he said. I'm about business.
But before he talks about winning multiple championships, he needs to stop choking when it matters.
On Sunday, LeBron James – flanked by former Finals MVP Dwayne Wade and perennial all-star Chris Bosh – lost to a 32-year-old Dirk Nowitzki, 33-year-old Jason Terry, and 38-year-old Jason Kidd.
Why did LeBron James lose? He choked. Pure and simple.
The numbers don’t lie. LeBron James averaged 26.7 ppg in the regular season, 27.7 ppg for his career, 24.2 ppg in the first round of 2011 playoffs, 28.0 ppg in the conference semi-finals, and 25.8 ppg in the conference finals.
Then, for the 2011 finals itself, he averaged a dismal 17.8 ppg.
He did the same thing in 2007 when he averaged just 22.0 ppg (compared to 27.3 ppg in the regular season) in a 0-4 loss to the Spurs in the NBA Finals.
LeBron James seems to have missed the memo that great players elevate their game, not choke, when they play in the NBA Finals.
Let’s take a look at the last 5 NBA Finals MVPs and how they elevated their games:
2011 – Dirk Nowitzki - NBA Finals PPG v Regular Season PPG (+3.0)2010 – Kobe Bryant – NBA Finals PPG v Regular Season PPG (+1.6)
2009 - Kobe Bryant – NBA Finals PPG v Regular Season PPG (+5.6)
2008 – Paul Pierce – NBA Finals PPG v Regular Season PPG (+2.2)
2007 – Tony Parker – NBA Finals PPG v Regular Season PPG (+5.9)
LeBron needs to learn from their examples if he wants to win just one championship. He just can’t choke every time he plays in the NBA Finals.