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In order to capture his second championship title the Miami Heat faced the San Antonio Spurs, signifying a rematch for James from his first Finals six years earlier. At the beginning of the series, he was criticized for his lack of aggressiveness and poor shot selection as Miami fell behind 2-3. In Game 6, he recorded his second triple-double of the series including 16 fourth quarter points to lead the Heat to a comeback victory. In Game 7, Miami defeated San Antonio for their second consecutive championship. James notched 37 points in the deciding game, tying the record for most points scored in an NBA Finals Game 7 victory. He was named Finals MVP for the second straight season, averaging 25.3 points, 10.9 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2.3 steals per game for the series and 25.9 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 6.6 assists per game for the playoffs.
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To start the 2013 Playoffs, the Heat defeated the Milwaukee Bucks and Bulls en route to a Conference Finals match-up versus the Pacers. In Game 1 against Indiana, James scored a buzzer-beating layup in overtime to give Miami a one point victory. Throughout the series, his supporting cast struggled significantly, and his added scoring load prompted him to compare his responsibilities to those of his "Cleveland days". Despite these struggles, the Heat won the series in seven games, advancing to the Finals.
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In February of the 2012–13 season, James had a "month for the ages", setting multiple shooting efficiency records and becoming the first player since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in March 1983 to take more than 200 shots in a calendar month and make at least 64 percent of them. During this period, the Heat began a 27-game winning streak, the second longest in NBA history. Behind his play, Miami finished the year with a franchise and league best 66-16 record, and James was named MVP for the fourth time, falling just one vote shy of becoming the first player in NBA history to win the award unanimously.
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In the Finals, the Heat were matched up with the upstart Oklahoma City Thunder. Despite holding a 13-point first half lead in Game 1, Miami lost the first game of the series. In Game 2, the Heat again built a double-digit lead, this time holding on and winning to tie the series at 1-1. Back in Miami, the Heat took Game 3 to go up 2-1. Game 4 proved to be a memorable one for James. With five minutes left in the game, he started experiencing leg cramps and was carried off the floor. He returned soon after and hit a three-pointer with 2:51 left to give Miami a three point lead they did not relinquish. In Game 5, James registered his only triple-double of the season with 26 points, 11 rebounds, and 13 assists as Miami defeated Oklahoma City for their second ever championship and James' first championship. James was named the Finals MVP with averages of 28.6 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 7.4 assists per game. His postseason totals were 30.3 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 5.6 assists per game.
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346 photos
Despite a lackluster second half to the season, the Heat entered the playoffs with the second seed in the Eastern Conference. They breezed past the Knicks in the first round before falling behind 2-1 to Indiana in the second round. In Game 4, James turned in one of the best all-around performances of his career, registering 40 points, 18 rebounds, and 9 assists in a winning effort on the road. Miami eventually won the series in six games. In the Conference Finals, the Heat again faced the Celtics, winning the first two games before dropping the next three. Facing elimination, James scored 45 points in Game 6 on 73 percent shooting, leading Miami to victory. He also contributed 15 rebounds and 5 assists, becoming the second player in league history besides Wilt Chamberlain to do so. The Heat won Game 7 to advance to the 2012 NBA Finals.
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James entered the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season with a drastically changed demeanor. Admittedly humbled by Miami's loss to Dallas, he spent the offseason attempting to improve himself as a basketball player and a person, going so far as to work with Hakeem Olajuwon on his post game. The Heat opened the year on a strong note, finishing January with a 16-5 record and matching their best start to a season in franchise history. During that stretch, James averaged 29.2 points, 8.3 rebounds, 7.1 assists, 1.8 steals, and 37.4 minutes while shooting 55.1 percent from the field and 40.6 percent from three-point range. In the 2012 All-Star Game, he tied Kevin Durant with a game-high 36 points and tied the All-Star Game record of six three-pointers made. At the conclusion of the season, James was named league MVP for the third time, finishing with averages of 27.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 6.2 assists, and 1.9 steals per game on 53 percent shooting.
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In the 2011 NBA Finals James finished with averages of 17.8 points, 6.8 assists, and 7.1 rebounds, although the Miami Heat were beaten in 6 games by the Dallas Mavericks, 4–2. Throughout the postseason James averaged 23.6 points, 5.8 assists, and 8.3 rebounds. James's 17.8 points per game (down 8.9 points from 26.7) in the Finals was the largest drop off in points from a regular season to an NBA Finals in NBA history.
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Entering the the playoffs as the Eastern Conference's second seed, Miami breezed past the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round to earn James another rematch with the Celtics in the second round. Behind stellar play from James and Wade, the Heat defeated Boston in five games. In the Conference Finals, Miami met the first-seeded Bulls and 2011 MVP Derrick Rose. The Heat again won in five games with James leading the way, providing strong defense on Rose and reliable clutch play throughout.
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On July 9, James officially completed a sign-and-trade deal with the Miami Heat. On the same day, the Heat threw a welcome party and introduced James, Wade and Bosh to the 13,000 Heat fans at American Airlines Arena. James became the third reigning NBA MVP to change teams and the first since Moses Malone in 1982. On December 2, the Heat played in Cleveland in James' first game back since departing as a free agent. The crowd directed derisive chants and signs at James, who was booed every time he touched the ball. With tight security, the crowd was rowdy but not violent and there was only one arrest and four ejections. James scored a then-season-high 38 points and Miami won in a 118–90 blowout as the hostile crowd was quieted before halftime. In a well publicized arrival after spurning the franchise, LeBron James had his second triple double of the season with 32 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in a blowout victory.
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In the playoffs, the Cavaliers beat the Chicago Bulls in the first round, but fell to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals. James was criticized for not playing well, especially in Game 5 of the series, in which he shot only 3 for 14 and scored 15 points. He walked off the court in that game, his final home game as a Cavalier, "to a smattering of boos and rows of empty seats" and Cleveland lost 88–120 in their worst home playoff loss in team history. Cleveland was eliminated in Game 6, James' last playing for Cleveland, as he recorded 27 points, 19 rebounds, 10 assists, but also 9 turnovers.
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At the end of the regular season, Cleveland finished with the best regular season record for the second consecutive year. James won the Most Valuable Player for the second time in his career, becoming the tenth NBA player in history to do so. James received 116 of a possible 122 first-place votes to win.
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Before the 2009–10 season, Cleveland traded for four-time NBA champion Shaquille O'Neal to address an inside presence that was missing against Orlando. O'Neal's goal was to "Win a Ring for the King." James was selected to his sixth consecutive All-Star game appearance. He became the first player to earn at least 2.5 million votes three times. He was the first player to have at least 40 points, 15 assists and 13 rebounds in a game since Robertson did so on February 13, 1962. On March 13, 2010, James became the youngest player in NBA history to score 15,000 regular season points during a 92–85 win over the Chicago Bulls.
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In the playoffs, the Cavaliers swept the Pistons in the first round of the 2009 NBA Playoffs. James averaged 32.0 points, 11.3 rebounds and 7.5 assists in the series and became just the third player in NBA history to average at least 30 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in a postseason series. At the end of the last game, in which he tallied 36 points, 13 rebounds and 8 assists on 16-17 free throw shooting, there were MVP chants for him in The Palace of Auburn Hills. In the next series, James once again led his team to a sweep against the Hawks. On May 22, during Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals, James attempted and successfully made a game winning three-point shot over Türkoglu, giving the Cavs a 96–95 victory to tie the series 1–1. Following losses in both games 3 and 4, James and the rest of the Cavs scored a victory in Game 5, making it 3–2, to send the series back to Orlando. In Game 6, he scored a playoff low 25 points and the Cavaliers lost the series to Orlando.
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After a win on March 25 against the New Jersey Nets the Cleveland Cavaliers improved their record to 58–13 exceeding their previous franchise best of 57–25 set in the 1988-89 and 1991-92 NBA seasons. They ended the regular season with a league best of 66-16 after losing their final home game to the Philadelphia 76ers in overtime. The Cavaliers had a chance to tie the 1985-86 Boston Celtics for the all-time best NBA home record but ended at 39-2 after home losses to the Los Angeles Lakers and 76ers. On May 4, he was announced as the NBA Most Valuable Player. He became the youngest player as well as the first Cavaliers player in history to win the award. He was also named to the NBA All-Defensive Team for the first time in his career.
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In the 2008-09 season James continued to improve facets of his game while setting new career highs. He had 23 chase-down blocks (93 blocks in total, a career-high) and improved his free-throw shooting (78.0%, a career-high, with league-leading 594 free-throws made). He was the NBA Player of the Month four times, making him the second player in NBA history to do that after Kevin Garnett did so in his 2003-04 MVP season. In addition, he became the fourth player in NBA history to lead his team in all five major statistical categories (total points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks) in one season.
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James had propelled Cleveland to a 45–37 record, good for the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Prior to Cleveland's first-round series versus the Washington Wizards, Wizards guard Deshawn Stevenson said James was "overrated," prompting James to say that he would not return the insult, as that would be "almost like Jay-Z [responding to a negative comment] made by Soulja Boy." James would later say that he meant no disrespect to Soulja Boy with his comment, and that his young son is a big fan of the rapper. Jay-Z responded by producing a freestyle version of the Too Short single "Blow the Whistle", in which he "disses" Stevenson and Soulja Boy on James' behalf. The Cavaliers would go on and win the series in 6 games (4–2), setting up a meeting with the Boston Celtics. The series was decided by the seventh game in Boston. James and opponent Paul Pierce each scored 40+ points, but the Cavaliers could not get a victory, thus losing the series (4–3).
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On February 27, 2008, against the Boston Celtics, James became the youngest person to score 10,000 points in his career at 23 years and 59 days, achieving the feat in style with a slam-dunk over 11-time All-Star Kevin Garnett, eclipsing the old mark by more than a year. James did so in 368 games, the ninth fastest in league history. On March 3, 2008 James was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Month for February 2008. It was the second straight month that he won the award. On March 5, 2008, James scored 50 points with 8 rebounds and 10 assists on the New York Knicks, becoming only the third player since the NBA-ABA merger to record a 50-point 10-assist game. On March 21, 2008, James scored 29 points against the Toronto Raptors, taking him past Brad Daugherty's all-time Cavaliers scoring record of 10,389 points. Daugherty achieved this record over the course of 548 games, while James took only 380 games to score 10,414 points.
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In the 2007–08 season, James continued his dominant play, earning his fourth consecutive All-Star Game appearance. James was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Month for January 2008. He won the 2008 All-Star Game MVP with 27 points, 8 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals as the Eastern Conference All-Stars defeated their Western counterparts, 134–128. On February 19, 2008, James recorded his fifth triple double of the 2007–08 season by putting up 26 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists against the Houston Rockets. It was the 15th triple double of his career, another Cavaliers' record. He is the third youngest player to post 15 triple doubles, behind Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson. He scored his 6th triple double of the season and 16th of his career against the Indiana Pacers the very next game. It was the second time this season that he had triple double in back-to-back games. The last player to accomplish that feat was Magic Johnson in 1988.
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In the 2007 NBA Finals, James averaged 22.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 6.8 assists, as the Cavaliers were swept by the San Antonio Spurs in four games. For the postseason, James averaged 25.1 points, 8.0 assists and 8.1 rebounds per game. He set a franchise record for double-doubles in a playoff season with eight and became the first Cavalier and the first non-guard in NBA history to have at least seven assists in eight consecutive playoff games.
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In the first round of the 2007 Playoffs, James led the Cavaliers to their first sweep in franchise history over the Washington Wizards. For the series, James averaged 27.8 points, 7.5 assists, and 8.5 rebounds. In the second round of the playoffs, James led the Cavaliers to a 4–2 series victory over the New Jersey Nets. The Cavaliers advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in 15 years. In the Eastern Conference Finals, James led the Cavaliers from an 0–2 deficit against the Detroit Pistons to win the series in six games. His performance in Game 5 was especially memorable. James recorded a franchise-record 48 points on 54.5% field goal shooting, 9 rebounds and 7 assists. In addition, James scored 29 of Cleveland's last 30 points, including the team's final 25 points in a double-overtime victory. NBA analyst Marv Albert referred to James's performance as "one of the greatest moments in postseason history," while color commentator Steve Kerr called it "Jordan-esque."
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James was elected to his third consecutive All-Star game appearance during the 2006–07 season. He played a game high 32 minutes and finished with 28 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists. In the regular season, the Cavaliers tied the previous season's record with 50 wins and clinched the second seed of the Eastern Conference on the last day of the season. For the season, James averaged 27.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. He joined Oscar Robertson as the only players in NBA history to average 27 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists for three consecutive years.
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In the 2005–06 season, James was elected to his second straight All-Star Game appearance and led the Eastern All-Stars to a 122–120 victory, with 29 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists. He became the youngest All-Star MVP at 21 years, 51 days. He scored 35 or more points in nine consecutive games and joined Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant as the only players since 1970 to accomplish the feat. For the season, James averaged 31.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 6.6 assists per game,[10] and became the youngest player in NBA history to average at least 30 points. He also became the fourth player in NBA history to average more than 30 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists in a single season. The Cavaliers made the playoffs for the first time since 1998, and improved from a record of 17–65 in 2002–03 to 50–32 in 2005–06.
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In the 2004–05 season, James was selected to his first NBA All-Star Game and recorded 13 points, 6 assists, and 8 rebounds, as the Eastern All-Stars defeated the Western All-Stars 125–115. During the season, James became the youngest player in league history to record a triple-double, score 50 points in a game, and make the All-NBA Team. He averaged 27.2 points, 7.2 assists, 7.4 rebounds, and 2.2 steals per game. However, the Cavaliers failed to reach the playoffs again and finished with a 42–40 regular season record.
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James was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the first overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft. Facing the Sacramento Kings in his first NBA game, James recorded 25 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds, and 6 steals and shot 60% from the floor. After recording a season-high 41 points against the New Jersey Nets, James became the youngest player in league history to score at least 40 points in a game. He averaged 20.9 points, 5.9 assists, and 5.5 rebounds per game for the season, and was named 2003-04 NBA Rookie of the Year; becoming the first Cavalier and youngest NBA player to ever receive the award. He joined Oscar Robertson and Michael Jordan as the only three players in NBA history to average at least 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists per game in their rookie season.The Cavaliers improved by 18 wins and concluded the regular season with a 35–47 record, but failed to make the playoffs.
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Named the consensus 2003 National High School Player of the Year…named the PARADE High School Boys Basketball Player of the Year as a junior and senior, becoming the first repeat winner in the 47-year history of the award…named the USA Today and Gatorade Player of the Year as both a junior and senior…led St. Vincent-St. Mary (SVSM) to three state championships in four seasons…named Mr. Basketball for the state of Ohio by the Associated Press (AP) for three straight seasons beginning with his sophomore year…named to USA Today All-USA First Team for three consecutive seasons beginning with his sophomore season…totaled 2,657 points, 892 rebounds and 523 assists in four seasons at SVSM.
St. Vincent St. Mary – Akron, Ohio
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USA Basketball
After his rookie season, James played on the 2004 U.S. Olympic basketball team in Athens, where the United States won the bronze medal in men's basketball. It was the first time a U.S. Olympic team with NBA players failed to win the gold medal. James also competed in the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan and averaged 13.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game. However, the team finished with an 8–1 record, and was again awarded the bronze medal. James was named as one of three captains for the U.S. men's basketball national team from 2006–2008, alongside Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade. After failing to win the 2006 World Championships, the team competed at the 2007 Tournament of Americas Olympic qualifiers to qualify for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. He averaged 18.1 points (on tournament-high field-goal percentage (76%) and three-point percentage (62.2%)), 4.7 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 22.2 minutes per game.
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