In June 2015, in front of millions of basketball fans, the Golden State Warriors dispatched the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games. It’s not that the Cavaliers didn’t stand a chance at the beginning of the series, but with Kevin Love already sidelined and Kyrie Irving going down at the end of Game 1 with what would eventually be diagnosed as a fractured kneecap, Cleveland never really stood a chance.
How could they? The Dubs had the league MVP in Stephen Curry. They had the deepest roster in the NBA. They had the swagger, the confidence, the home-court advantage, and a 67-win season under their belts. In other words, they had everything going for it.
The Cleveland Cavaliers had one thing that could not be replicated: LeBron James. The best player on the planet — who was playing in his fifth consecutive NBA Finals — took the series by storm. You can try to game plan for him all you want, but when the King is dialed in, you can forget about it. When James is at his best he’s not just scoring points, he was getting the most out of his diminished supporting cast, and it was clear he believed in himself so strongly that he had the rest of the young Cavs believing as well; believing that they could actually topple Goliath.
Of course, when you’re one of the only two guys (the other is James’s longtime teammate in Miami and Cleveland, James Jones) to have made six NBA Finals appearances in modern NBA history, there might be a justifiable reason behind that optimism. In honor of LeBron’s historic six uninterrupted visits to basketball’s biggest stage, which now includes bringing a championship back to the city of Cleveland, here are all of his NBA Finals performances ranked to date.