LeBron James opal card
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LeBron James

Rewards / G.O.A.T.

General information

6'8" (203cm)
250lbs (113kg)
King James
P&R Ball Handler Guard Post Up Handoff Isolation

Hot Zones


LeBron James opal card

99 Overall

3968 Total attr.

99 Outside scoring

  • 99 Shot close
  • 99 Shot mid
  • 99 Shot 3pt
  • 99 Shot IQ
  • 99 Free throw
  • 99 Offensive consistency

99 Inside scoring

  • 99 Driving layup
  • 99 Standing dunk
  • 99 Driving dunk
  • 99 Draw foul
  • 99 Post moves
  • 99 Post hook
  • 99 Post fade
  • 99 Hands

99 Athleticism

  • 99 Speed
  • 99 Acceleration
  • 99 Vertical
  • 99 Strength
  • 99 Stamina
  • 99 Hustle
  • 99 Overall durability

99 Playmaking

  • 99 Speed with ball
  • 99 Ball handle
  • 99 Passing accuracy
  • 99 Passing vision
  • 99 Passing IQ

98 Defending

  • 99 Interior defense
  • 99 Perimeter defense
  • 99 Help defense IQ
  • 89 Pick & roll defense IQ
  • 99 Lateral quickness
  • 99 Pass perception
  • 96 Reaction time
  • 99 Steal
  • 99 Block
  • 95 Shot contest
  • 99 Defensive consistency

99 Rebounding

  • 99 Offensive rebound
  • 99 Defensive rebound



Boosts the ability to hit high degree of difficulty layups

Backdown Punisher

Increases the chances of a player successfully backing down their opponent

Consistent Finisher

Provides more explosive first steps out of tripple threat and size-ups

Contact Finisher

Improves the ability to convert contact layups and dunks in traffi

Cross-Key Scorer

Boosts the shot percentage for layups when moving across the paint

Deep Hooks

Boosts the shot percentage when shooting hooks from a deep distance

Fancy Footwork

Improves a player's ability to beat defenders with an advanced layup or dunk gather

Fastbreak Finisher

Boosts player's Takeover meter when completing a dunk on a fastbreak

Giant Slayer

Heightens the effectiveness of layups over taller defenders

Lob City Finisher

Improves the chances of completing a successfull alley-oop dunk/layup

Pro Touch

Gives an additional boost for having good layup timing

Putback Boss

Increases shot percentage when attempting a putback after an offensive rebound

Relentless Finisher

Reduces the fatigue effects from continually finishing at the rim with contact


Boosts team's Takeover meters after completing a highlight play

Slithery Finisher

Improves a player's ability to avoid contact when attacking the rim


Improves a player's ability to effectively use dropsteps in the post

Pick & Roller

Increases shot percentage as the roller in a pick & roll

Tear Dropper

Increases the chance of hitting floaters and runners


Catch & Shoot

Boosts the chance of hitting a jump shot immediately after a catch

Clutch Shooter

Increases the ability to knock down shots in clutch moments


Reduces the impact of a defender who is closing out

Deep Fades

Improves the chance of making a post fadeaway from deep range

Difficult Shots

Improves the ability to shoot difficult shots off the dribble

Flexible Release

Reduces the penalty suffered from mis-timed jump shot releases

Green Machine

Increases the bonus given for consecutive excellent releases

Hot Start

Improves player's shooting ability after making first shot until a miss occurs

Hot Zone Hunter

Boosts the shot percentage for attempts taken in a player's favorite spots

Ice In Veins

Improves a player's free throw percentage during the critical moments

Pump Fake Maestro

Decreases the penalty that comes from shooting after pump fakes

Quick Draw

Speeds up the release of a jump shot

Range Extender

Extends the range from which a player can effectively shoot

Slippery Off-Ball

Strengthens the player's ability to get the open off the ball

Tireless Shooter

Improves a player's ability to make shots when fatigued

Volume Shooter

Boosts shot percentages as shot attempts accrue throughout the game

Corner Specialist

Gives a boost to shots taken near the corner

Pick & Popper

Elevates the shot percentage for an attempt taken off a pick and fade situation


Ankle Breaker

Improves the likelihood of freezing or dropping a defender during dribble moves

Bail Out

Increases the chances of successfully completing a pass from mid-air

Break Starter

Improves a player's ability to make effective outlet passes after grabbing a rebound


Boosts the shot percentage for open teammates on jump shots after catching a pass


Increases overall speed with the ball in transition

Dream Shake

Raises the chances that a defender bites when doing fakes in the posts

Flashy Passer

Gives an additional boost to player's Takeover meter after completing an assist with a flashy pass

Floor General

Teammates receive an offensive attribute bonus when player is in the game

Handles For Days

Reduces the amount of energy lost when performing dribble moves

Lob City Passer

Improves the chances of completing a successful alley-oop pass

Needle Threader

Increases the likelihood that tough passes can get by the defense

Pass Fake Maestro

Increases the effectiveness of pass fakes

Post Spin Technician

Improves the ability of a post spin or drive to work effectively

Quick First Step

Provides more explosive first steps out of tripple threat and size-ups

Space Creator

Improves a player's ability to create space from defender

Stop & Go

Improves a player's ability to start and stop with the ball

Tight Handles

Improves a player's ability to break down their defender


Reduces the chances of getting stripped by the defender



Improves a player's ability to box out opponents

Brick Wall

Increases effectiveness of screens and drains energy from opponents on physical contact

Chase Down Artist

Raises the chances of getting a chase-down block


Boosts the ability to stay in front of the ball handler on the perimeter

Heart Crusher

Decreases opponents' Takeover meters when achieving a highlight play on defense


Increases chances at getting steals in passing lanes


Intimidates offensive players causing them to miss shots more often

Lightning Reflexes

Receives an earlier cue on the Read and React system while playing defense

Moving Truck

Strengthens a defender's ability to move people around in the post

Off-Ball Pest

Improves a player's ability to bump and harass the offense off the ball

Pick Dodger

Improves a player's ability to navigate through screens effectively on defense

Pick Pocket

Improves a player's ability to steal the ball from a ball handler

Pogo Stick

Improves the ability to attempt multiple blocks in succession

Post Move Lockdown

Improves the defender's ability to defend post moves

Rebound Chaser

Improves a player's ability to chase down rebounds

Rim Protector

Improves ability to block shots, gives boost to the Takeover meter for blocker/teammates

Tireless Defender

Reduces energy lost when exerting efforts on defense


Makes life difficult for the offensive players when trapped


Allows rebounders to swim or spin around box outs more easily

Defensive Leader

Boosts the defensive abilities of teammates when in the game


Alpha Dog

Enhances the ability to rally teammates


An outgoing and typically well-liked player

Extremely Confident

Believes in own abilities and values personal success

Legendary Work Ethic

A gym rat who is the hardest worker at all times

Pat My Back

Responds best when patted on the back


Not one to hide emotion during big moments


  • 100 Standing dunk
  • 100 Driving dunk
  • 100 Flashy dunk
  • 100 Alley-oop
  • 10 Putback dunk
  • 15 Crash


  • 80 Driving layup
  • 65 Spin layup
  • 55 Hop step layup
  • 25 Euro step layup
  • 25 Floater

Jump shooting

  • 64 Step through shot
  • 54 Shot under basket
  • 40 Shot close
  • 7 Shot close left
  • 32 Shot close middle
  • 61 Shot close right
  • 25 Shot mid
  • 60 Spot up shot mid
  • 50 Off screen shot mid
  • 50 Shot 3pt
  • 75 Spot up shot 3pt
  • 35 Off screen shot 3pt
  • 40 Contested jumper mid
  • 20 Contested jumper 3pt
  • 40 Stepback jumper mid
  • 40 Stepback jumper 3pt
  • 40 Spin jumper
  • 8 Transition pull up 3pt
  • 10 Drive pull up 3pt
  • 15 Drive pull up mid
  • 35 Use glass

Drive setup

  • 75 Triple threat pump fake
  • 75 Triple threat jab step
  • 5 Triple threat idle
  • 75 Triple threat shoot
  • 25 Setup with sizeup
  • 50 Setup with hesitation
  • 25 No setup dribble


  • 99 Drive
  • 65 Spot up drive
  • 65 Off screen drive
  • 25 Drive right
  • 35 Driving crossover
  • 5 Driving spin
  • 10 Driving step back
  • 5 Driving half spin
  • 10 Driving double crossover
  • 5 Driving behind the back
  • 35 Driving dribble hesitation
  • 5 Driving in and out
  • 10 No driving dribble move
  • 85 Attack strong on drive


  • 95 Shoot
  • 99 Touches
  • 75 Roll vs. pop
  • 20 Transition spot up
  • 65 Iso vs. elite defender
  • 65 Iso vs. good defender
  • 75 Iso vs. average defender
  • 85 Iso vs. poor defender
  • 15 Play discipline

Post game

  • 45 Post up
  • 15 Post shimmy shot
  • 10 Post face up
  • 40 Post back down
  • 20 Post aggressive backdown
  • 75 Shoot from post
  • 8 Post hook left
  • 13 Post hook right
  • 85 Post fade left
  • 50 Post fade right
  • 30 Post up and under
  • 20 Post hop shot
  • 55 Post step back shot
  • 25 Post drive
  • 15 Post spin
  • 25 Post drop step
  • 15 Post hop step


  • 65 Dish to open man
  • 60 Flashy pass
  • 65 Alley oop pass


  • 100 Pass interception
  • 95 Take charge
  • 100 On-ball steal
  • 100 Contest shot
  • 100 Block shot
  • 0 Foul
  • 0 Hard foul


9, written by Nba2kGod11

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    Finally, the king has arrived


    While I personally don't have LeBron in my top 2 or 1 like others, I definitely agree this is well deserved.

    Show 13 replies...

    Well Lebron's defiantly in the top 10


    I think he’s 2nd all-time


    i think the top 3 is Jordan, Magic, than LeBron


    Top 3
    1. Jordan
    2. Hakeem
    3. Kareem


    top 3
    1. tacko
    2. bonga
    3. bongo420


    Ripped Cheems?


    he ascended away from earth because he was too good


    you are high if you think hakeem is 2nd best all time you are so houston biased


    I honestly think Hakeem is great but I think hes at three at max




    Ben simmions > lebum lechina is just a Walmart ben simmions



    Show 10 replies...

    Lol fuck off lonzo is shit


    lonzo is better than ben simmons




    lonzo is better at basketball lmao




    no it cant be cap because lonzo is better


    if i find a random black guy in the parks of compton bet 20$ he can beat lonzo


    no one can beat lonzo its impossible




    There was a goat leak and a goat Cavs Lebron coming soon


    i don't think that leak is real and even if it was, would it even be a good thing like you could run a lineup with no player under 6'8 with a+ all with 74 badges

    Show 1 reply...

    man thats dissapointing


    when is it comming

    Show 1 reply...

    don't know but i know it is coming soon


    because its in NBA is back packs and rn hes on the Lakers thats why


    They should've used 2018 Playoffs LeBron, cause that was arguably his best form. They also missed the opportunity for a card that can play all positions. You'd think they would've done that to make more money.


    They leaked GOAT packs and there is goat PG LeBron


    oh ok

    Show 1 reply...

    And it’s 2018 LeBron


    People that don't play myteam that much: FINALLY GOAT BRON!
    People that cheese and tryhards: smh cant play pg


    you know he is a point forward ilr right


    yes but his goat opal shouldnt have been on the lakers anyway. should have been cavs

    Show 4 replies...

    I don't think it would make sense, even for a GOAT card, to have Bron be on the Cavs in an "NBA is Back" promo. If it wasn't this specific promo, then I'd agree that he should be Cavs....or actually Miami tbh.


    i agree with that but he wasnt the reward or anything vince was. but he is prolly in the packs so i agree


    you know there is a cavalier pg/sf lebron goat coming


    Walk-off winner against the Raptors
    “Under 3 seconds to go,
    Throws up the floater,


    hey guys is there anything i can improve or fix in my lineup??


    KING JAMES finally got his Goat card!!!!!!!




    That would be super cool if you could tell me how to improve this lineup with 350k MT i have, go ahead be awsome!



    No offense, but why is LeBron in a Lakers uniforms, he should have either Heat or his second Cavs stint on that card instead.


    Finally the king gets his well deserved GOAT opal after the game winner yesterday


    You already know Shannon Sharpe got that Goat mask on


    Lebron is the goat, he don't have covid


    yesirr! goat lebron!


    stop downing who ever is


    wow must be wmf it could be @jc_the_bulls_fan possibly

    Show 5 replies...

    i got downed on this card multiple times and you dont see me crying about it and assuming people


    1 upp3d so y0u st0p cry1ng!




    i said (possibly)


    of course bc you always assume me of shit like this like stfu no one cares about virtual downs on a website. if you always think its me just block me and ill be fine with that


    hes literally 99 everything except pick and roll defense iq is at a 89 EWWWW


    The Lawn James


    why is the Intangibles 25 while cards like curry, jordan and shaq have a 99. and what does Intangibles even mean?


    its just a stat that boosts overrall, some PDs are bad ut they only a 97 ovr cos they got 99 intangbles, he has 25 cos hes 99 everything


    jordan has 99 everything too but he does have the 99 intangbles

    Show 2 replies...

    Jordan isnt 99 everything smh


    yeah except for pick and role defense, reaction time and shot contest. james also doesnt have those 3 at 99. but why does jordan have 99 intagebles and james and other cards not


    Wow never would've guessed LeBron would get a goat card. Never would've guessed






    About time we got this card


    Best card in the game
    oop hold up ima bout to cum in my pants looking at this card


    Don't open these packs. They gonna release goat packs in a few days.


    Another lebron was leaked a goat cavs pg is coming


    he should be the best card


    the guy on the lakers with 15 play discipline


    What we’ve all been waiting for…


    LeBron > Kobe




    bout damn time the real goat got his card saved the best for last


    2K is more harsh on who gets good Pick n Roll than any other stat. Of all the stats... pick n roll D? You think some nut at 2K is just being a dick at the meetings like "NO HE CAN'T HAVE 99 CAUSE HE DOESN'T SWITCH OUT PROPERLY!"


    I pulled the Kawhi card and it's almost as good but the animations aren't that great


    The Prime Series one is better. They both play about the same. The badges won'T create that big of a difference. The Prime Series one can play SG which is a huge W. This one is too short for PF and not the best card that can play SF.


    The real goats come out the same day. Lebron and Oscar.


    2K Adds a Goat LeBron James
    Me who is Antetokoumpo's Fan:Did we just lose
    MJ Fans:Hah Amatuers


    what the hell is this?


    not a mavs card, luka or a Slovenian player, fat trash here


    89 pick and roll defense?


    yeh a lot of the opals have bad pick and roll defense, maybe to embrace pick and rolls in the community.


    When is Scalabrine going to get a goat card


    How the hell did he get a card over ben simmions smh


    You spelled simmons wrong lmao


    of course they give lechoke another card. what did he do to deserve this, other than join the lakers?


    2k, stop giving us GOAT cards to people who dont deserve them. I googled this man and nothing came up, since he is a NOBODY!!!!! He barely deserves a BRONZE, and a GOAT OPAL before MELO??!?!?!?!?! Come on 2k, be better

    Also, check out my NEW lineup



    Random Facts:

    LeBron Raymone James Sr. (/ləˈbrɒn/; born December 30, 1984) is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is widely considered to be one of the greatest basketball players in NBA history. Discussions ranking him as the greatest basketball player of all time have often been subject to significant debate, with frequent comparisons to Michael Jordan.[1] James's teams have played in eight consecutive NBA Finals (2011–2018 seasons) between the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers. His accomplishments include three NBA championships, four NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) Awards, three Finals MVP Awards, and two Olympic gold medals. James holds the all-time record for playoffs points, is third in all-time points, and eighth in all-time assists. James was selected to the All-NBA First Team twelve times (all-time record), made the All-Defensive First Team five times, and has played in sixteen All-Star Games, in which he was selected All-Star MVP three times.

    James played basketball for St. Vincent–St. Mary High School in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, where he was heavily touted by the national media as a future NBA superstar. A prep-to-pro, he joined Cleveland in 2003 as the first overall draft pick. Named the 2003–04 NBA Rookie of the Year, he soon established himself as one of the league's premier players, winning the NBA MVP Award in 2009 and 2010. After failing to win a championship with Cleveland, James left in 2010 to sign as a free agent with Miami. This move was announced in an ESPN special titled The Decision, and is one of the most controversial free agent decisions in American sports history.

    James won his first two NBA championships while playing for the Heat in 2012 and 2013; in both of these years, he also earned league MVP and Finals MVP. After his fourth season with the Heat in 2014, James opted out of his contract to re-sign with the Cavaliers. In 2016, he led the Cavaliers to victory over the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals by coming back from a 3–1 deficit, delivering the franchise's first championship and ending Cleveland's 52-year professional sports title drought. In 2018, James opted out of his contract with the Cavaliers to sign with the Lakers.

    Off the court, James has accumulated additional wealth and fame from numerous endorsement contracts. His public life has been the subject of much scrutiny, and he has been ranked as one of America's most influential and popular athletes. He has been featured in books, documentaries, and television commercials. He has also hosted the ESPY Awards and Saturday Night Live, and appeared in the 2015 film Trainwreck. The LeBron James Family Foundation charity builds upon his vision to improve education for students in Akron, Ohio.

    1 Early life
    2 High school career
    2.1 Basketball
    2.2 Football
    3 Professional career
    3.1 Cleveland Cavaliers
    3.1.1 2003–2004: Rookie season
    3.1.2 2004–2008: Rise to superstardom
    3.1.3 2008–2010: MVP seasons
    3.2 Miami Heat
    3.2.1 The Decision
    3.2.2 2010–2011: Year of media and fan scrutiny
    3.2.3 2011–2013: Back-to-back championships
    3.2.4 2013–2014: Final season in Miami
    3.3 Return to the Cavaliers
    3.3.1 2014–2016: Ending Cleveland's championship drought
    3.3.2 2016–2018: End of second stint in Cleveland
    3.4 Los Angeles Lakers
    4 National team career
    5 Player profile
    5.1 Offense
    5.2 Defense
    6 Legacy
    7 Off the court
    7.1 Personal life
    7.2 Public image
    7.3 Media figure and business interests
    7.4 Music
    7.5 Activism
    8 NBA career statistics
    8.1 Regular season
    8.2 Playoffs
    9 Awards and honors
    10 Filmography
    10.1 Film
    10.2 Television
    11 See also
    12 Notes
    13 References
    14 Further reading
    15 External links

    Early life

    James was born on December 30, 1984 in Akron, Ohio to Gloria Marie James, who was 16 at the time of his birth.[2]:22 His father, Anthony McClelland, has an extensive criminal record and was not involved in his life.[3] When James was growing up, life was often a struggle for the family, as they moved from apartment to apartment in the seedier neighborhoods of Akron while Gloria struggled to find steady work.[4] Realizing that her son would be better off in a more stable family environment, Gloria allowed him to move in with the family of Frank Walker, a local youth football coach who introduced James to basketball when he was nine years old.[2]:23

    James began playing organized basketball in the fifth grade.[5] He later played Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball for the Northeast Ohio Shooting Stars.[4] The team enjoyed success on a local and national level, led by James and his friends Sian Cotton, Dru Joyce III, and Willie McGee.[2]:24 The group dubbed themselves the "Fab Four" and promised each other that they would attend high school together.[2]:27 In a move that stirred local controversy, they chose to attend St. Vincent–St. Mary High School, a private Catholic school with predominantly white students.[6]
    High school career

    As a freshman, James averaged 21 points and 6 rebounds per game for the St. Vincent-St. Mary varsity basketball team.[7] The Fighting Irish went 27–0 en route to the Division III state title, making them the only boys high school team in Ohio to finish the season undefeated.[8] As a sophomore, James averaged 25.2 points and 7.2 rebounds with 5.8 assists and 3.8 steals per game.[9] For some home games during the season, St. Vincent-St. Mary played at the University of Akron's 5,492-seat Rhodes Arena to satisfy ticket demand from alumni, fans, as well as college and NBA scouts who wanted to see James play.[10] The Fighting Irish finished the season 26–1 and repeated as state champions.[7] For his outstanding play, James was named Ohio Mr. Basketball and selected to the USA Today All-USA First Team, becoming the first sophomore to do either.[7]

    Before the start of his junior year, James was featured in Slam, an American basketball magazine, and writer Ryan Jones lauded him as possibly "the best high school basketball player in America right now".[11] During the season, James also appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, becoming the first high school basketball underclassman to do so.[2]:104 With averages of 29 points, 8.3 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 3.3 steals per game, he was again named Ohio Mr. Basketball and selected to the USA Today All-USA First Team,[7] and became the first junior to be named male basketball Gatorade National Player of the Year.[2]:117 St. Vincent-St. Mary finished the year with a 23–4 record, ending their season with a loss in the Division II championship game.[2]:114 Following the loss, James unsuccessfully petitioned for a change to the NBA's draft eligibility rules in an attempt to enter the 2002 NBA draft.[12][13] During this time, he used marijuana, which he said was to help cope with the stress that resulted from the constant media attention he was receiving.[14]

    Throughout his senior year, James and the Fighting Irish traveled around the country to play a number of nationally ranked teams, including a game on December 12, 2002 against Oak Hill Academy that was nationally televised on ESPN2.[2]:142 Time Warner Cable, looking to capitalize on James's popularity, offered St. Vincent-St. Mary's games to subscribers on a pay-per-view basis throughout the season.[2]:143 For the year, James averaged 31.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 3.4 steals per game,[7] was named Ohio Mr. Basketball and selected to the USA Today All-USA First Team for an unprecedented third consecutive year,[2]:178 and was named Gatorade National Player of the Year for the second consecutive year.[7] He participated in three year-end high school basketball all-star games—the EA Sports Roundball Classic, the Jordan Capital Classic, and the McDonald's All-American Game—losing his National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) eligibility and making it official that he would enter the 2003 NBA draft.[15]

    Also during his senior year, James was the centerpiece of several controversies. For his 18th birthday, he skirted state amateur bylaws by accepting a Hummer H2 as a gift from his mother, who had secured a loan for the vehicle by utilizing James's future earning power as an NBA superstar.[16] This prompted an investigation by the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) because its guidelines stated that no amateur may accept any gift valued over $100 as a reward for athletic performance. James was cleared of any wrongdoing because he had accepted the luxury vehicle from a family member and not from an agent or any outside source.[15] Later in the season, James accepted two throwback jerseys worth $845 from an urban clothing store in exchange for posing for pictures, officially violating OHSAA rules and resulting in him being stripped of his high school sports eligibility.[15] James appealed the ruling and his penalty was eventually dropped to a two-game suspension, allowing him to play the remainder of the year. The Irish were also forced to forfeit one of their wins, their only official loss that season.[17] In his first game back after the suspension, James scored a career-high 52 points.[18] St. Vincent-St. Mary went on to win the Division II championship, marking their third division title in four years.[19]

    As an underclassman, James played wide receiver for St. Vincent-St. Mary's football team.[2]:51 He was recruited by some Division I programs, including Notre Dame.[20] At the conclusion of his sophomore year, he was named first team all-state, and as a junior, he helped lead the Fighting Irish to the state semifinals.[9] He did not play during his senior year because of a wrist injury that he sustained in an AAU basketball game.[21] Some sports analysts, football critics, high school coaches, former and current players have speculated that James could have played in the National Football League.[a]
    Professional career
    Cleveland Cavaliers
    2003–2004: Rookie season

    James was selected by his hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, as the first overall pick of the 2003 NBA draft.[26] In his first regular season game, he scored 25 points against the Sacramento Kings, setting an NBA record for most points scored by a prep-to-pro player in his debut performance.[27] At the conclusion of the season, he became the first Cavalier to receive the NBA Rookie of the Year Award,[28] and with final averages of 20.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game, he also became just the third player in league history to average at least 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists per game as a rookie.[29] Cleveland ultimately finished the season 35–47, failing to make the playoffs despite an 18-game improvement over the previous year.[30]
    2004–2008: Rise to superstardom

    James earned his first NBA All-Star Game selection in 2004–05, contributing 13 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists in a winning effort for the Eastern Conference.[31] Around the league, teams took note of his rapid development, with Denver Nuggets coach George Karl telling Sports Illustrated, "It's weird talking about a 20-year-old kid being a great player, but he is a great player ... He's the exception to almost every rule."[32] On March 20, James scored 56 points against the Toronto Raptors, setting Cleveland's new single-game points record.[33] With final averages of 27.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, 7.2 assists, and 2.2 steals per game, he was named to his first All-NBA Team.[9] Despite a 30–20 record to start the year,[33] the Cavaliers again failed to make the playoffs, finishing the season 42–40.[34]

    At the 2006 All-Star Game, James led the East to victory with 29 points and was named the NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player.[35] Behind final season averages of 31.4 points, 7 rebounds, and 6.6 assists per game,[36] he also finished second in overall NBA Most Valuable Player Award voting to Steve Nash.[37] Under James's leadership, the Cavaliers qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 1998.[38] In his postseason debut, James recorded a triple-double in a winning effort versus the Washington Wizards.[39] In Game 3 of the series, he made the first game-winning shot of his career, making another in Game 5.[40] Cleveland would go on to defeat the Wizards before being ousted by the Detroit Pistons in the second round.[41]
    James picks up his dribble against Caron Butler of the Washington Wizards in November 2006
    James engages in his pre-game ritual of tossing crushed chalk into the air in March 2008; the routine was mostly ended after 2011[42][43]

    In 2006–07, James's averages declined to 27.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 6 assists, and 1.6 steals per game.[9] Some analysts attributed the fall to a regression in his passing skills and shot selection, which stemmed from a lack of effort and focus.[44] The Cavaliers finished the season with 50 wins for the second consecutive year and entered the playoffs as the East's second seed.[45] In Game 5 of the NBA Conference Finals, James notched 48 points with 9 rebounds and 7 assists, scoring 29 of Cleveland's last 30 points, including the game-winning layup with two seconds left, against the Pistons.[46] After the game, play-by-play announcer Marv Albert called the performance "one of the greatest moments in postseason history" and color commentator Steve Kerr described it as "Jordan-esque".[47] In 2012, ESPN ranked the performance the fourth greatest in modern NBA playoff history.[48] The Cavaliers went on to win Game 6 and claim their first-ever Eastern Conference championship,[49] earning them a matchup with the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals.[50] During the championship round, James struggled, averaging 22 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 6.8 assists per game on just 35.6 percent shooting,[51] and Cleveland was eliminated in a sweep.[50]

    In February of the 2007–08 season, James was named All-Star Game MVP for the second time behind a 27-point, 8-rebound, and 9-assist performance.[52] On March 21, he moved past Brad Daugherty as the Cavaliers' all-time leading scorer in a game against the Raptors, doing so in over 100 less games than Daugherty.[53] His 30 points per game were also the highest in the league, marking his first scoring title.[54] Despite his individual accomplishments, Cleveland's record fell from the year before to 45–37.[55] Seeded fourth in the East entering the playoffs, the Cavaliers defeated the Wizards in the first round for the third consecutive season before being eliminated in seven games by the eventual-champion Boston Celtics in the next round.[56] During the decisive seventh game in Boston, James scored 45 points and Paul Pierce scored 41 in a game the Associated Press described as a "shootout".[57]
    2008–2010: MVP seasons
    James and DeShawn Stevenson in April 2008. The two had a short feud after Stevenson called James "overrated"[58]

    At the conclusion of the 2008–09 season, James finished second in NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award voting and made his first NBA All-Defensive Team,[59] posting 23 chase-down blocks and a career-high 93 total blocks.[60] He also became only the fourth postmerger player to lead his team in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks in a single season.[61] Behind his play and the acquisition of All-Star guard Mo Williams, Cleveland went a franchise record 66–16 and fell just one game short of matching the best home record in league history.[62] With final averages of 28.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.2 blocks per game, James became the first Cavalier to win the MVP Award.[63] Reflecting on James's performance for ESPN, John Hollinger later wrote, "He's having what is arguably the greatest individual season in history, and it's time we gave him his due for it."[64]

    In the playoffs, Cleveland swept the Pistons and the Atlanta Hawks to earn a matchup with the Orlando Magic in the Conference Finals.[65] In Game 1 of the series, James scored 49 points on 66 percent shooting in a losing effort for the Cavaliers.[48] In Game 2, he hit a game-winner to tie the series at 1–1.[66] Cleveland would lose the series in six games, and following the loss in Game 6, James immediately left the floor without shaking hands with his opponents, which was an act that many media members viewed as unsportsmanlike.[67][68] For the series, he averaged 38.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 8 assists per game,[69] finishing the postseason with a career playoff-high 35.3 points per game.[36]

    In February of the 2009–10 season, James was forced into a temporary point guard role following a series of injuries to players in the Cavaliers' backcourt.[70] Behind his leadership, Cleveland lost no momentum, finishing the year with the best record in the league for the second consecutive season.[71] Due in part to his increased minutes as the Cavaliers' primary ball handler, James increased his statistical production, averaging 29.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 8.6 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1 block per game on 50 percent shooting en route to another MVP Award.[72] To open the playoffs, Cleveland advanced past the Bulls to earn a matchup with the Celtics in the second round.[73] James was heavily criticized for not playing well in Game 5 of the series, shooting only 20 percent on 14 shots and scoring 15 points.[74] The team suffered its worst loss in franchise history, and at the conclusion of the game, James walked off the court to a smattering of boos from Cleveland's home crowd.[75] The Cavaliers were officially eliminated from the postseason in Game 6, with James posting 27 points, 19 rebounds, 10 assists, and nine turnovers in the losing effort.[73]
    Miami Heat
    The Decision
    Main article: The Decision (TV program)
    James with the Cavaliers in November 2009. He finished his first stint with the Cavs averaging 27.8 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, and 1.7 steals per game.[76]

    James became an unrestricted free agent at 12:01 am EDT on July 1, 2010.[77] During this time, he was contacted by several teams, including the Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, New York Knicks, New Jersey Nets, and Cavaliers.[78] On July 8, he announced on a live ESPN special titled The Decision that he would sign with the Heat.[79] The telecast was broadcast from the Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich, Connecticut and raised $2.5 million for the charity. An additional $3.5 million was raised from advertising revenue, which was donated to other charities.[80] The day before the special, fellow free agents Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade also announced that they would sign with Miami;[81] reports later arose that back in 2006 the trio had discussed among themselves their upcoming 2010 free agencies.[82] James decided to join with Bosh and Wade in part so that he could shoulder less of the offensive load; he thought that his improved teammates would give him a better chance of winning an NBA championship than had he stayed in Cleveland.[83] Heat president Pat Riley played a major role in selling James on the idea of playing with Bosh and Wade.[84] James would be relieved of the burden of scoring, and he thought he could be the first player since Oscar Robertson to average a triple-double in a season.[83]

    Upon leaving the Cavaliers, James drew intense criticism from sports analysts, executives, fans, and current and former players. The Decision itself was also scrutinized and viewed as unnecessary. Many thought that the prolonged wait for James's choice was unprofessional as not even the teams courting him were aware of his decision until moments before the show.[85] Upon learning that James would not be returning to Cleveland, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert published an open letter to fans in which he aggressively denounced James's actions.[86] Some angry fans of the team recorded videos of themselves burning his jersey.[87] Former NBA players, including Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson, were also critical of James, condemning him for joining with Bosh and Wade in Miami and not trying to win a championship as "the man".[88][89][90] James drew further criticism in a September interview with CNN when he claimed that race might have been a factor in the fallout from The Decision.[91][92] As a result of his actions during the 2010 free agency period, he quickly gained a reputation as one of America's most disliked athletes, which was a radical change from prior years.[93][94] The phrase "taking my talents to South Beach" became a punch line for critics.[95][96] In retrospect, James has expressed some regret over his handling of The Decision.[94][97][98]
    2010–2011: Year of media and fan scrutiny
    James goes in for a slam dunk as a member of the Miami Heat as John Wall of the Washington Wizards looks on in March 2011

    James officially signed with the Heat on July 10, 2010.[99] With the move, he became only the third reigning MVP to change teams and the first since Moses Malone in 1982.[100] That evening, the Heat threw a welcome party for their new "big three" at the American Airlines Arena, an event that took on a rock concert atmosphere.[101] During the gathering, James predicted a dynasty for the Heat and alluded to multiple championships.[102][103] Outside of Miami, the spectacle was not well-received, furthering the negative public perception of James.[104]

    Throughout the 2010–11 season, the media and opposing fanbases treated James and the Heat as villains.[105] To begin the year, they struggled to adjust to these new circumstances, going only 9–8 after 17 games.[106] James later admitted that the constant negativity surrounding the team made him play with an angrier demeanor than in years past.[105] On December 2, James faced the Cavaliers in Cleveland for the first time since departing as a free agent.[107] He scored 38 points and led Miami to a win while being booed every time he touched the ball.[108] The Heat eventually turned their season around and finished as the East's second seed,[109] with James averaging 26.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 7 assists per game on 51 percent shooting.[36]

    In the conference semifinals, James and his teammates found themselves matched up with the Celtics for the second consecutive year.[110] In Game 5, he scored Miami's last ten points to help seal a series-clinching win.[111] After the final buzzer, he famously knelt on the court in an emotional moment, later telling reporters that it was an extremely personal victory for him and the team.[112] The Heat eventually advanced to the Finals, where they were defeated by the Dallas Mavericks in six games.[110] James received the brunt of the criticism for the loss, averaging only three points in fourth quarters in the series.[113] His Finals scoring average of 17.8 points per game signified an 8.9-point drop from the regular season, the largest point drop-off in league history.[114]
    2011–2013: Back-to-back championships

    James was humbled by the Heat's loss to the Mavericks, and the experience inspired him to leave behind the villain role that he had been embracing, which helped him regain a sense of joy on the court.[105] He also decided that his post game needed improvement, so he worked with Hakeem Olajuwon during the off-season.[106] Behind James's significantly-expanded skillset,[115] Miami began the year with a franchise-best 18–6 record.[116] He was eventually named 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.[117]
    James stands at midcourt during a dead ball in January 2013. On that night, he became the youngest player in NBA history to score 20,000 career points.[118]

    In the second round of the playoffs, Miami temporarily lost Chris Bosh to an abdominal injury and found themselves trailing the Indiana Pacers 2–1.[119] James responded with a 40-point, 18-rebound, and 9-assist outing in Game 4 to help even the series.[120] To compensate for Bosh's absence, the Heat embraced a small-ball lineup with James at power forward, which they retained even after Bosh's return in the Conference Finals against the Celtics.[121][122] Facing elimination in Game 6, James recorded 45 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Heat to victory in what The New York Times called a "career-defining performance".[123] Miami won Game 7 to advance to the Finals, earning them a matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder and James's budding rival, Kevin Durant.[124] Late in Game 4 of the series, James hit a three-pointer to give the Heat a lead, helping them win the game despite missing time with leg cramps.[125] In Game 5, he registered a triple-double as Miami defeated Oklahoma City for their second-ever championship and James's first championship.[126] James was unanimously voted the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player with averages of 28.6 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 7.4 assists per game.[127] His full postseason run, in which he averaged 30.3 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 5.6 assists per game, was later ranked the second best in modern NBA history by ESPN.[128]

    In February of the 2012–13 season, James averaged 29.7 points and 7.8 assists per game while setting multiple shooting efficiency records.[129][130] That same month, the Heat also began a 27-game winning streak, which is the third longest in NBA history.[131] Based on these accomplishments, James's performance was described as a "month for the ages" by Sports Illustrated.[132] Miami eventually finished the year with a franchise and league best 66–16 record,[133] 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.[134] His final season averages were 26.8 points, 8 rebounds, 7.3 assists, and 1.7 steals per game on 56.5 percent shooting.[36]

    In Game 1 of the Conference Finals, James scored a buzzer-beating layup to give Miami a one-point victory against the Pacers.[135] 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".[136] Despite these struggles, the Heat advanced to the Finals for a meeting with the Spurs,[137] signifying a rematch for James from his first Finals six years earlier.[138] At the beginning of the series, he was criticized for his lack of aggressiveness and poor shot selection as Miami fell behind 2–3.[69][137][139] 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.[140] In Game 7, he tied the Finals record for most points scored in a Game 7 victory, leading Miami over San Antonio with 37 points.[141] 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 championship round.[142]
    2013–2014: Final season in Miami

    On March 3 of the 2013–14 season, James scored a career-high and franchise-record 61 points in a game against the Charlotte Bobcats.[143] Throughout the year, he was one of the few staples for a Heat roster that used 20 different starting lineups due to injuries,[144] finishing with averages of 27.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 6.4 assists per game on 56.7 percent shooting.[36] In the second round of the playoffs, he tied a career postseason-high by scoring 49 points in Game 4 against the Brooklyn Nets.[145] In the next round, Miami defeated the Pacers to earn their fourth consecutive Finals berth, becoming one of only four teams in NBA history to do so.[146] In Game 1 of the Finals, James missed most of the fourth quarter because of leg cramps, helping the Spurs take an early series lead.[147] In Game 2, he led the Heat to a series-tying victory with 35 points on a 64 percent shooting rate.[148] San Antonio eventually eliminated the Heat in five games, ending Miami's quest for a three-peat.[149] For the Finals, James averaged 28.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.0 steals per game.[150]
    Return to the Cavaliers

    On June 25, 2014, James opted out of his contract with the Heat, and on July 1, he officially became an unrestricted free agent.[151] On July 11, he revealed via a first-person essay in Sports Illustrated that he intended to return to the Cavaliers.[152] In contrast to The Decision, his announcement to return to Cleveland was well received.[153][154][155] On July 12, he officially signed with the team,[156] who had compiled a league-worst 97–215 record in the four seasons following his departure.[157] A month after James's signing, the Cavaliers acquired Kevin Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves, forming a new star trio along with Kyrie Irving.[158]
    2014–2016: Ending Cleveland's championship drought
    James throws a pass as Gorgui Dieng defends in December 2014. Later that season, James reached several passing milestones, including becoming the Cavaliers' all-time assists leader.[159][160]

    In January of the 2014–15 season, James missed two weeks due to left knee and lower back strains, which represented the longest stretch of missed games in his career.[161] In total, he played a career-low 69 games and his final averages were 25.3 points, 6 rebounds, and 7.4 assists per game.[36] In the second round of the playoffs, he hit a baseline jumper at the buzzer to give Cleveland a 2–2 series tie with the Bulls.[162] In the Conference Finals, the Cavaliers defeated the Hawks to advance to the Finals, making James the first player since the 1960s to play in five consecutive Finals.[163] For most of the Finals against the Golden State Warriors, Irving and Love were sidelined due to injury, giving James more offensive responsibilities.[163] Behind his leadership, the Cavaliers opened the series with a 2–1 lead before being eliminated in six games.[164] Despite the loss, he received serious consideration for the Finals MVP Award,[165] averaging 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 8.8 assists per game for the championship round.[164]

    During the 2015–16 season, James was criticized for his role in several off-court controversies, including the midseason firing of Cavaliers' coach David Blatt.[166][167] Despite these distractions, Cleveland finished the year with 57 wins and the best record in the East.[168] James's final averages were 25.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 6.8 assists per game on 52 percent shooting.[36] In the playoffs, the Cavaliers advanced comfortably to the Finals, losing only two games en route to a rematch with the Warriors,[168] who were coming off a record-setting 73-win season.[169] To begin the series, Cleveland fell behind 3–1, including two blowout losses.[170] James responded by registering back-to-back 41 point games in Games 5 and 6, leading the Cavaliers to two consecutive wins to stave off elimination.[171] In Game 7, he posted a triple-double and made a number of key plays, including The Block on Andre Iguodala,[172] as Cleveland emerged victorious, winning the city's first professional sports title in 52 years and becoming the first team in NBA history to come back from a 3–1 series deficit in the Finals.[173] James became just the third player to record a triple-double in an NBA Finals Game 7,[174] and behind series averages of 29.7 points, 11.3 rebounds, 8.9 assists, 2.3 blocks, and 2.6 steals per game,[170] he also became the first player in league history to lead both teams in all five statistical categories for a playoff round, culminating in a unanimous Finals MVP selection.[175]
    2016–2018: End of second stint in Cleveland

    The 2016–17 season was marred by injuries and unexpected losses for the Cavaliers;[176] James later described it as one of the "strangest" years of his career.[177] Following a January defeat to the New Orleans Pelicans, he publicly criticized Cleveland's front office for constructing a team that he felt was too "top heavy", for which he received countercriticism.[178] The Cavaliers finished the season as the East's second seed, with James averaging 26.4 points and career highs in rebounds (8.6), assists (8.7), and turnovers (4.1) per game.[36] In Game 3 of the first round of the postseason, he registered 41 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 assists against the Pacers, leading Cleveland to a comeback victory after trailing by 25 points at halftime, representing the largest halftime deficit overcome in NBA playoff history.[179] In Game 5 of the Conference Finals against the Celtics, James scored 35 points and surpassed Michael Jordan as the league's all-time postseason scoring leader.[180] The Cavaliers won the game and the series, advancing to their third consecutive Finals against the Warriors, who had signed James's rival Kevin Durant during the off-season.[181] Behind averages of 33.6 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists per game, James became the first player to average a triple-double in the Finals, but Cleveland was defeated in five games.[182]
    James protects the ball from Kyrie Irving in October 2017. The two were teammates in Cleveland for three seasons.[183]

    Prior to the start of the 2017–18 season, the Cavaliers overhauled their roster by trading Kyrie Irving to the Celtics, who requested a trade in part because he no longer wanted to play with James.[183] After a slow start to the year, Cleveland rebounded by winning 18 of 19 games in December.[184] Their turnaround began with a victory over the Wizards where James scored 57 points, which represented the second-highest point total of his career and tied a franchise record.[185] In January, the Cavaliers had a losing record, and James was criticized for his lackluster effort.[186] Following another round of trades in February, Cleveland returned to form and James reached a number of historical milestones; for example, on March 30, he set an NBA record with 867 straight games scoring in double digits.[187] James eventually finished the season with averages of 27.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, and a career-high 9.2 assists and 4.2 turnovers per game.[36] In the playoffs, he guided the Cavaliers to another Finals rematch with the Warriors.[188] Along the way, he had some of the most memorable moments of his career, including a game-winning shot against the Pacers and another against the Raptors.[189] In the first game of the Finals, James scored a playoff career-high 51 points, but Cleveland was defeated in overtime.[190] Following the defeat, James injured his hand after punching a wall in the locker room, which hindered his effectiveness for the remainder of the series.[191] The Cavaliers lost the series in four games, with James averaging 34 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 10 assists per game for the Finals.[192]
    Los Angeles Lakers

    On June 29, 2018, James opted out of his contract with the Cavaliers and became an unrestricted free agent.[193] On July 1, his management company, Klutch Sports, announced that he would sign with the Los Angeles Lakers;[194] the deal was officially completed on July 9.[195] In an interview with Sports Illustrated, James's agent, Rich Paul, explained, "In 2010, when he went to Miami, it was about championships. In 2014, when he went back to Cleveland, it was about delivering on a promise. In 2018, it was just about doing what he wants to do."[196] Reaction to the move was more positive than his original departure from the Cavaliers, albeit still mixed, as some onlookers felt that Los Angeles was not his optimal destination.[197]

    Following James's signing, the Lakers rounded out their roster with a controversial collection of playmakers and veterans. As a result, to begin the 2018–19 season, the team struggled to find effective lineups and recorded only two wins through their first seven games.[198] In November, they began a turnaround, which included two of James's strongest performances of the season. On November 14, he registered 44 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists in a victory against the Portland Trail Blazers,[199] and four days later he scored a season-high 51 points in a win over the Heat.[200] After blowing out the Warriors on Christmas Day, Los Angeles improved their record to 20–14, but James suffered a groin injury in the process. He ultimately missed a career-high 17 consecutive games, and the Lakers fell out of playoff contention without him.[201] The team was unable to recover and failed to qualify for the postseason, marking the first time that James missed the playoffs since 2005 and the first time he failed to reach the Finals since 2010.[202] On March 7, the Lakers announced that James would begin a minutes restriction,[203] and on March 30, he was officially ruled out for the remainder of the season.[204] James's final averages were 27.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 8.3 assists per game, and despite his inconsistent campaign, he was ultimately named to the All-NBA Third Team, marking the first time in 12 years that he did not make the All-NBA First Team.[36]

    During the offseason, the Lakers hired Frank Vogel as their new head coach, and traded the majority of their young core to the Pelicans for All-Star big man Anthony Davis.[205] James immediately embraced Los Angeles's much-improved roster by transforming his playing style, moving to full-time point guard and competing with a more consistent defensive effort.[206] Behind James's leadership, the Lakers opened the 2019–20 season with a 17–2 record, matching the best start in franchise history.[207] On January 25, James passed team legend Kobe Bryant for third on the all-time regular season scoring list, the day before Bryant's death in a helicopter crash.[208] In late March, James led Los Angeles to a victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in a matchup of conference leaders, followed by a streak-breaking win against the Clippers,[209] before the season was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With play set to resume in the NBA Bubble, James referred to the situation as a prison sentence.[210]


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