LeBron wins Finals MVP for fourth time, adds to his GOAT resume

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Who is the Greatest of All Time is supposed to be a debate. The criteria are subjective, and people’s opinions are formed through the era they grew up in.

But in the NBA now, that debate is Michael Jordan or LeBron James.

LeBron made his case much stronger on Sunday, winning his fourth NBA title — one of a handful of players to do it with three different teams, and the only one of them who was the best player on those teams — plus winning his fourth Finals MVP.

To earn this fourth ring and MVP, LeBron had to outduel Jimmy Butler, who was spectacular in his own right (and, up until Game 6, had a case to win the MVP award even on a losing team). LeBron capped off the 2020 NBA Finals with his a triple-double with 28 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists — his 11th triple-double in the Finals. That performance cemented him as the 2020 Finals MVP, the vote was unanimous (from 11 selected media members in the bubble).

“We just want our respect,” LeBron said on the court when presented the Bill Russell Finals MVP trophy. “Rob [Pelinka, Lakers GM] wants his respect. Coach [Frank] Vogel wants his respect. The organization wants their respect. Laker Nation wants their respect.

“And I want my damn respect, too.”

“He’s the greatest player the basketball universe has ever seen, and if you think you know, you don’t know…” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “Until you’re around him every day, you’re coaching him, you’re seeing his mind, you’re seeing his adjustments, seeing the way he leads the group. You think you know; you don’t know.”

LeBron has played in more NBA playoff games than anyone as of Sunday (260, one more than Derek Fisher) and LeBron now has four Finals MVPs (second only to Jordan’s six).

Stacking LeBron’s accomplishments up against Jordan’s — or Bill Russell’s, or Kareem Abdul Jabar’s, or whoever you want to throw in the G.O.A.T. conversation — is a matter of personal preference. There is no clear and simple answer, that would take the fun out of it anyway.

Just know LeBron has earned his spot in that conversation.

And, he earned that Finals MVP.