LeBron first to win Finals MVP with 3 teams

LeBron James is used to delivering historic performances on The Finals stage. What he did in Game 6 of the 2020 Finals, though, puts him in a category all by himself.

James was named Finals MVP after the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Miami Heat with a 106-93 win in Game 6. In doing so, James became the first player in NBA history to be named Finals MVP with three different franchises. He was at his best in the Game 6 clincher, finishing with 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists and won the Finals MVP by a unanimous 11-0 vote.

His first Finals MVP came as a member of the Miami Heat in the 2012 Finals. He followed that up with another in 2013 and won his third Finals MVP in 2016 as the Cleveland Cavaliers rallied from a 3-1 Finals deficit to win the title. 

Heading into these Finals, James was tied with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Milwaukee Bucks, Lakers) and Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors) as the only players in NBA history to win Finals MVPs with more than one team

In the 2020 Finals, James averaged 29.8 points, 11.8 rebounds and 8.5 assists per game. The Lakers’ title was their first since 2010, when franchise icon Kobe Bryant collected Finals MVP honors en route to L.A. defeating the rival Boston Celtics in Game 7. Overall, this is the 17th championship in Lakers history, tying them with the Celtics for most in NBA history.

Here’s a look each of the players who won MVPs with multiple NBA franchises:

PlayerTeamFinals Series StatsMVP
 LeBron JamesLakers29.8 ppg | 11.8 rpg | 8.5 apg | 1.2 spg | 0.5 bpg2020 (Lakers defeat Heat, 4-2)
LeBron JamesCavs29.7 ppg | 11.3 rpg | 8.9 apg | 2.6 spg | 2.3 bpg2016 (Cavs defeat Warriors, 4-3)
LeBron JamesHeat25.3 ppg | 10.9 rpg | 7.0 apg | 2.3 spg | 0.9 bpg2013 (Heat defeat Spurs, 4-3)
LeBron JamesHeat28.6 ppg | 10.2 rpg | 7.4 apg | 1.6 spg | 0.4 bpg2012 (Heat defeat Thunder, 4-1)
Kawhi LeonardRaptors28.5 ppg | 9.8 rpg | 4.2 apg | 2.0 spg | 1.2 bpg2019 (Raptors defeat Warriors, 4-2)
Kawhi LeonardSpurs17.8 ppg | 6.4 rpg | 2.0 apg | 1.6 spg | 1.2 bpg2014 (Spurs defeat Heat, 4-1)
Kareem Abdul-JabbarBucks27 ppg | 18.5 rpg | 2.8 apg1971 (Bucks defeat Bullets, 4-0)
Kareem Abdul-JabbarLakers25.7 ppg | 9.0 rpg | 5.2 apg | 1.0 spg | 1.5 bpg1985 (Lakers defeat Celtics, 4-2)

 (Note: Blocks per game not an official NBA stat until 1973-74 season.)

In NBA history, 12 players have won two or more Finals MVPs in their career, nine of whom have been elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. 

In NBA history, the multiple Finals MVP winners in NBA history are: Willis Reed (1970, ’73); Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (’71, ’85); Magic Johnson (’80, ’82, ’87); Larry Bird (’84, ’86); Michael Jordan (’91-93, ’96-98); Hakeem Olajuwon (’94, ’95); Tim Duncan (’98, 2003, ’05); Shaquille O’Neal (’00-02); Kobe Bryant (’09, ’10); Kawhi Leonard (’14, ’16), LeBron James (’12, ’13, ’16) and Kevin Durant (’17, ’18). 

John Salley (Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles Lakers) and Robert Horry (Houston, Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio) were, until this Game 6, the only players to win championships with three different franchises. James (Miami, Cleveland) and Danny Green (San Antonio, Toronto) added their names to that list with this title.

NBA.COM