LeBron James soaring into seventh straight NBA Finals

Tom Withers
Associated Press

Cleveland — LeBron James will one day take his final bow, the brightest spotlight moving on to someone else.

There will come a time when his legs lose some explosiveness and those vicious dunks will be rendered ordinary.

Someday, his jumper won’t fall as often, and that astonishing court vision, the key to his game, will become cloudy.

James will face the end of his career one day.

Just not anytime soon.

On the eve of his seventh straight NBA Finals appearance, and 10 years since he debuted on basketball’s grand stage, James’ reign continues: undisputed king of the court.

During a postseason in which he has led the champion Cleveland Cavaliers to a 12-1 record and chased down Michael Jordan as the No. 1 scorer in playoff history, James has not only positioned himself for a fourth title, but intensified the debate over whether he’s the greatest player in NBA history.

He isn’t slowing down while building his case.

James has always dismissed the Jordan comparisons, saying that kind of talk is “only great for barbershops” and that original gravity-defying No. 23 has been his motivational muse, not a target.

But after the Cavs won their third straight conference title, punishing an overmatched Boston team in five games — he supplanted Jordan during the clincher — James discussed his place alongside someone who was “like a god” to him growing up.

“I did pretty much everything that M.J. did when I was a kid,” James said.

“I shot fadeaways before I should have. I wore black and red shoes with white socks. I wore short shorts so you could see my undershorts underneath. I didn’t go bald like Mike, but I’m getting there. … But other than that, I did everything Mike did. I even wore a wristband on my forearm. I didn’t do the hoop earring, either. That was Mike.

“But I did everything Mike did, man.”

By having one of his finest statistical postseasons — 32.5 points per game, 8.0 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 57 percent shooting through 13 games — James is dismissing any argument about the league’s true MVP.

NBA Finals

Golden State vs. Cleveland

All games on ABC

Thursday: at Golden State, 9

Sunday: at Golden State, 8

June 7: at Cleveland, 9

June 9: at Cleveland, 9

x-June 12: at Golden State, 9

x-June 15: at Cleveland, 9

x-June 18: at Golden State, 8

x-If necessary