Why Winning The 2016 NBA Championship Cements LeBron As The 2nd Best Player In NBA History

A thrilling NBA Finals is in the book and thanks in large part to Finals MVP LeBron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers have captured their first ever NBA title in historic fashion. It took LeBron nine years, but he's produced the long-coveted championship for the city of Cleveland. While James says he doesn't think about his legacy, this championship is critical to it and it's eliminated the last arguments of the LeBron haters. Here's why the 2016 NBA Finals have cemented LeBron as the second-best player in NBA history. 

Dominant Finals Effort
James has been the best player on the court by a wide margin. But it hasn't just been in the scoring or assist department that James has been so great: it's been every category. He lead the series in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks; every major category. He averaged an impressive 29.7 points, 8.9 assists, 11.3 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and 2.6 steals entering Game 7. Most importantly, LeBron took over the series when the Cavs needed him most; when they were down 3-1 and on the verge of elimination. The last major critique of James was that he produced, but not in the clutch. After this series, which featured two 41-point games and just the third triple-double in a Game 7 of a NBA Finals, that criticism has finally been put to bed. James even hit the critical free throw in the final 10 seconds to all but seal the win. In those final three games, James put up 36.3 points, 11.6 rebounds and 9.7 assists. It was as if James put the Cavs on sim mode in NBA2K until the elimination games and then started playing for real. 

Historic Comeback 
No team had ever come from down 3-1 in an NBA Finals to win. Until James pulled it off for the Cavaliers Sunday night. James' three-game stretch is one of the greatest in NBA history, if not the greatest. No one, not Jordan, Magic, Kareem or Kobe did what James did this series. While Kyrie Irving deserves credit, it was James that spearheaded this miracle. With this comeback, James has pulled off something truly historic and deserves all the credit in the world for it. 

Cleveland Has A Title
As the local product from Akron, Ohio, James was always supposed to deliver a championship to Cleveland. The Land has waited for decades for a championship, with the Indians last pulling it off in 1948. Cleveland has been close before, but James wasn't able to do it in his first stint. His departure to win two titles in Miami did not go over well with his critics. It was always "Jordan never needed to leave to win." But that no longer applies. James has finally delivered a championship to Cleveland. And while Irving has been a major help, James did it with limited help. Kevin Love went MIA this series and the Cavs are leaning heavily on gunslinger J.R. Smith, rebounder Tristan Thompson and a 35-year-old Richard Jefferson. The Cavs have their first NBA title and it's because of James. He was visible moved with emotion after the game, crying tears of joy. At long last, he fulfilled his promise to win on for Cleveland and has established himself as the second greatest in NBA history. No one had ever been able to make Cleveland a winner, but LeBron did. 

James might never pass Jordan as the greatest player in NBA history, but after this Herculean effort to pull the Cavs from down 3-1 with three straight superhuman games, it's clear James is behind only MJ. The Kobe Bryants, Magic Johnsons, Kareem Abdul-Jabbars, Bill Russells and many others are all some of the greatest to ever play the game. But only Jordan and James have at least four NBA MVPs and three Finals MVPs to their names. The 32-year-old James has finally silenced his critics with this title. 

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