When LeBron James hangs up his jersey and sneakers for good, he will be heralded as one of the greatest of all time. As always, a handful of basketball diehards will question James' status by pointing out his subpar NBA Finals record. But if we are to ask James himself, this doesn't bother him at all.
Losing in the NBA Finals vs. Losing to Bronny
In the middle of the 2016 NBA Finals, James was asked for his thoughts on his then 2-4 NBA Finals record. According to LeBron, what would sting the most is if he loses a game to his son. But concerning more significant matters like the NBA Finals, losses don't mess up with his mind that much.
"I think it bothers me in the fact that's how competitive I am," James said. "[Going] 3-1 still bothers me in state championships [in high school]. It's just the competitive side. If I lose in a game of H-O-R-S-E to my son, it's going to bother me. But as far as how people look at it and things of that nature, that doesn't bother me. I mean, my career will speak for itself when I'm done with it, no matter what my Finals record [is]. Some people never get here at all. I'm at seven up to this point. Heck, that's over half my career I've been in the Finals. So that doesn't bother me. What would bother me is if I went out there and didn't give it everything I've had," James said, per ESPN.
Interestingly, James would lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 3-1 comeback against the powerhouse Golden State Warriors a few weeks after that interview, and his NBA Finals record would improve to 3-4. But for James diehards, this poor win-loss record should be forgotten, given that James did the impossible.
As of writing, James has a 4-6 NBA Finals record. After signing a massive contract extension last month, he has three more years left to play. Unless James goes superhuman on us, these may be his final years in the league.
Looking at the Lakers roster, they are nowhere near contender status. Unless they pull a rabbit out of a hat, they could compete for the title in the upcoming season. But if we are to evaluate their chances realistically, the Lakers need at least one more year to fortify their core. As such, LeBron has two legitimate shots at winning the title. If all goes well, his record will stand at 6-6.
While winning is the only option for top athletes like James, he has been pretty outspoken with regard to his other quest: to play with his son Bronny and possibly even Bryce. This seems like a personal endeavor more than anything. It makes one wonder if James is motivated to win one for the City of Angels or pursue his personal thrills. Whatever the case may be, we should keep our eyes peeled on James' last few years in the league. He may be up to something here. And we should witness these developments with an unblinking stare.