Opinions Thu, 15 Oct 2020
The Los Angeles Lakers are the Champions of the 2019-2020 season of the United States National Basketball Association (NBA) annual tournament.That's surely not news, by now?
Yes, I am fully aware of that. What's not so obvious from the bare news item is that in winning the championship, the Lakers' “weapon of mass destruction” had been a guy called LeBron James.
In leading the Lakers to win the championship, LeBron James has helped to lighten the immense darkness that enveloped the Lakers team and its fans, following the death, in a helicopter crash in January 2020, of 42-year-old Kobe Bryant. Bryant had been the invincible super-star in the Lakers team for 20 years before he retired in 2016.
Everyone had been wondering whether LeBron James would be able to fill the big room left empty in the Lakers stable by Kobe Bryant. Hence the import of this year's victory by the Lakers over the Miami Heat. The irony is that the Miami Heat is a team on which LeBron had once been the leading star.
35-year-old LeBron won the 2020 title for Lakers on Sunday 11October 2020, with a “triple-double”, as Lakers beat Miami 106-93 in Game 6. James' personal accolades in the game were: 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists.
He was named “Finals MVP” [Most Valuable Player] – the fourth time in his career that he has achieved that.
James has now made more history and broken more records on NBA playoffs, than the legendary Michael Jordan. This has led one commentator to write that “while his career achievements [as a whole] continue to be debated against Michael Jordan’s, James is in rarefied air when it comes to the NBA Playoffs and Finals”.
[Here are] some of his most astonishing post-season feats: by collecting his fourth career Finals MVP, LeBron moves to outright second behind Jordan [six-four]. But he has now set the astonishing record of becoming the first player in NBA history to win it with three different teams. He previously did so with the – Miami Heat! (in 2012 and 2013) and the Denver Cavaliers (in 2016.)
James previously shared that record with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (who took the honour with both the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1970-71 season, and the Lakers in 1984-85).
But teams featuring James have now played in eight consecutive NBA Finals (2011–2018) and ten finals in total. His Finals series record improves to 4-6 with this latest triumph.
Columnist: Cameron Duodu