Looking to fill time and remain engaged with his massive following on social media, Lakers star LeBron James floated an idea late Wednesday night: getting onto Instagram Live and “maybe sitting down and breaking down some of my most memorable games and moments in my career.” He also suggested that he could film that and show it at another time.
With 17 years in the NBA under his belt, as well as three go-rounds in the Olympics and 25 appearances on the cover of Sports Illustrated—including a groundbreaking one going back to when he was a teenager playing high-school basketball—James would have no shortage of games from which to pick.
He has won three NBA championships, two in Miami and one in Cleveland, and is the league’s all-time leading scorer in the playoffs, with 6,911 points, and No. 4 all-time with 239 postseason games to his credit. He may have taken the top spot this season if the Lakers had a long playoff run.
Remembering Some of LeBron’s Top Games
Probably the most fascinating part of this idea from James is just the list of games he’d pick. For me, there are three games/moments that stand out, games which I was covering and sitting not too far from the court. They’re not necessarily the most obvious moments but they’re the ones that I witnessed that changed the arc of his NBA story.
1. Heat at Celtics, Game 6, Eastern Conference finals, June 7, 2012.
- This was the game that changed everything for James. Before this, the story of his postseason life had been failure and disappointment. The previous year, his first in Miami, the Heat had fizzled out in The Finals against a heavy underdog, the Mavericks.
- Before that, in 2010, James and his Cavaliers had imploded against Boston in the East finals, a loss that hastened his departure from Cleveland. With Miami down, 3-2, in the series and James looking like he’d flop again, he put forth what is still, arguably, the greatest playoff performance of his career: 45 points, 15 rebounds, five assists, 19-for-26 shooting. And he did it in Boston.
2. The Iguodala block, Game 7, 2016 Finals, Cavaliers at Warriors, June 19, 2016.
- Both teams were just exhausted by the time the fourth quarter of Game 7 came around. The Warriors scored only 13 points in that quarter. They would have had 15 if not for this, at 1:50, a play that would have given Golden State a two-point lead and might have pushed the Warriors to their second straight title:
3. Carrying the Cavs, Game 6, Eastern Conference finals, Cavaliers at Pistons, May 31, 2007.
- When Detroit won the first two games of the series against an overmatched Cleveland group—Sasha Pavlovic was a starter, Larry Hughes was the team’s second-best player—most of us booked our hotels in Detroit for The Finals. But Cleveland roared back to win four straight games, including a double-overtime shocker in which James scored 48 points, including 25 straight points for Cleveland to end the game. He played 52 minutes that night.