By: Christopher O’Brien
A lot of weird things happen in the 24 hours following a championship victory.
Sometimes you have a guy like LeBron James who rolls into the club wearing a shirt with a picture of his own face as a vampire.
Sometimes you have Dwyane Wade enjoying a $70,000 bottle of why-the-hell-am-I-not-getting-in-the-business-of-selling-these-types-of-drinks?!?
Sometimes you have a guy like Chris Bosh who takes the champagne celebration to a whole new level.
“where does LeBron rank all time/
it’s too soon come on now/
well, but can we at least talk about it though/
no, that’s ridiculous/
I don’t really have anything new to be said. LeBron played amazing. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook also played well in this series. Mike Miller, Shane Battier, and Mario Chalmers came up huge in Game 5. Neither one of these teams is going away any time soon.
What I wanted to do was find out where LeBron’s NBA Finals MVP performance ranked against the all time greats. Maybe someday I’ll tabulate every NBA Finals MVP and do a complete ranking, but for now, I’m taking a little easier path.
Here are the top 12 players of all time according to Bill Simmons:
- Michael Jordan
- Bill Russell
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
- Magic Johnson
- Larry Bird
- Wilt Chamberlain
- Tim Duncan
- Jerry West
- Oscar Robertson
- Hakeem Olajuwan
- Shaquille O’Neal
- Moses Malone
I have fallen in love with my own “CPR statistic.” I add the minutes, points, assists, rebounds, blocks, steals together. I then subtract missed shots, missed free throws, and turnovers. A missed field goal, 2-pt or 3-pt, is (-1) and a missed free throw is (-0.5). The number at the end of this is a player’s Complete Player Rating.
LeBron James’s 2012 NBA Finals CPR was 76.2. Here are the instances from those 12 players listed above who went above 76.2
Magic Johnson – In 1987 he had a 77.52.
Larry Bird – In 1984 he had a 77.95, in 1986 he had a 78.67
Tim Duncan – In 1999 he had a 79.7, in 2003 he had an 82.2
Hakeem – Had a 79.85 in 1995.
Kareem – Had a 82.18 in 1971.
Wilt Chamberlain – Had the second highest CPR I could find with an 86.74 in 1972.
Shaquille O’Neal – In 2001 he had an 85.3. In 2000 he set the record for best CPR with an incredible 89.12.
Michael Jordan – The moment you probably have all been waiting for. How did the new king stack up against the old king?
Michael Jordan has the edge in 1991 and 1993 with an 83.3 then a 83.65, but I found it interesting that LeBron’s 2012 performance ranked higher than MJ’s 1992, and ’96-98.
I was also interested to see how LeBron compared against the 2006 Dwyane Wade.
2012 LeBron CPR: 76.2
2006 Wade: 75.67
Then, finally, I wanted to see ’12 LeBron vs. ’07 LeBron and ’11 LeBron
2012 LeBron CPR: 76.2
2011 LeBron: 65.62
2007 LeBron: 58.41
In conclusion, LeBron James put together by far his best NBA Finals performance. It’s not the best in history, not a top 5, but it’s right in the mix rubbing shoulders with the legends’ bests. LeBron’s 2012 Finals, according to the CPR, was better than four of Michael Jordan’s NBA Finals performances. He’s hushed tons of his critics and has secured his spot as the greatest player on the planet.
But now the real climb begins. Each NBA title/Finals MVP after this point moves him another notch higher on the all-time list. How high can he get? Not sure, but I’m ready to witness.