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Unlike in, for instance, soccer in Europe, basketball is all about the ultimate winner. Sure, getting to the playoffs is a matter of prestige, being a conference winner gives the fans some bragging rights, but unless you get the ring, you haven’t done much. So, while there’s no denying that Lebron James is at least one of the top three players to have ever played the game, all of his deniers often just ask how many rings does Lebron have when this argument starts.
It’s because Lebron didn’t become as dominant as it was expected when he made his debut in the National Basketball Association. After his first season it looked like he would have a monopoly on owning the NBA’s most important piece of bling, but after 14 years in the league, he has “just” three rings.
Lebron James won the NBA in 2012, 2013, and 2016, first two times with the Miami Heat, the third time with the franchise he supported all his life – Cleveland Cavaliers. On all of these occasions, he was also the finals MVP!
In 2012 Lebron’s Heat trampled the young team of Oklahoma City Thunder for Lebron’s first ring. The year after, Lebron got his second ring. With the help of his teammates Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and Ray Allen he took down San Antonio Spurs in a seven-game thriller.
The third of the Lebron championships came in the unlikeliest of ways, last year Cleveland Cavaliers managed a 1-3 comeback against Golden State.
So simple math gives us the answer on how many rings does Lebron have, but there is more to be said about his legacy, the potential Lebron championships that didn’t come to be.
Lebron James managed to be in seven NBA finals total, and it’s almost certainly going to be eight as there is no competition in the Eastern Conference right now, but it’s as much likely to be Lebron’s fifth loss, not his fourth win as the Golden State Warriors seem unstoppable. The Warriors are basically a group of thieves that are robbing Lebron of his promised rings.
In 2007 with the Cavaliers, young Lebron wasn’t enough to beat the Spurs who swept the Eastern Conference rivals. In 2011, surprisingly, Dallas Mavericks stunned the big three of James, Bosh, and Wade in their first season and won their only title. 2014 was the year of revenge for Spurs who defeated Miami 4-1 as a payback for the year before and eventually sent Lebron back to Cleveland.
In his sixth final, Lebron was defeated 4-2 by the Warriors lead by Steph Curry. That seems like it will be the case in the 2017 finals as well, and the answer to the question how many rings does Lebron have will probably stay the same. But it’s not definitive, the man surely won’t back down from a fight, he has great teammates, and they can improve as well.
Besides three awards for being the NBA Finals MVP, Lebron was also the regular season MVP four times, in 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2013. Also, the scoring champion in 2008, oh, and also an All-Star player for 13 straight years.
So Lebron will never be one of the players with the most rings, with the players like James Harden and Russell Westbrook it doesn’t seem like he will win an MVP award again, but his legacy is established. We should be asking ourselves does it really matter how many rings does Lebron have as you can already argue that this basketball titan is already the best who ever did it based on skill, longevity, and commitment alone.