LeBron James has had a lot of success during his NBA career. Currently, in his 17th season, James is playing like he’s in his early years. The 16-time All-Star has elevated his game and still proves why he is one of the best players in the league.
It all hasn’t been easy for James, though. He’s dealt with a few injuries during his career, which has forced him to miss some time. He’s played through injuries as well.
Playing with an injured hand in the 2018 finals
During the 2018 NBA Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers took on the Golden State Warriors for the fourth straight year. The Warriors would go on to win their second straight NBA title, but LeBron James still dominated in the finals, even while he was injured.
James played the final three games of the finals with a deep bone contusion in his right hand. He injured his hand when he punched a whiteboard in the Cavaliers’ locker room after Game 1. James did not let the media world know that he was playing with an injured hand until after the finals were over.
But watching the way James played, you would not have thought that he was injured.
Playing at a high-level while injured
James dropped 51 points in Game 1 of the finals before he injured his hand. Even though the Warriors swept the Cavaliers, James still averaged 28.3 points per game after the injury, but he felt as if he let his team down.
“Postgame after Game 1, I was very emotional, for a lot of different reasons,” James said. “Understanding how important Game 1 is on the road for our ball club, what that would have done for us, the way we played, calls that were made throughout the course of that game.”
The outcome of the series might have been different if the Cavaliers won Game 1, and James knew they let that game get away from them. James said that he let his emotions get the best of him after that game. During Game 4, James finished with 28 points and eight assists while taking just three shots in the second half.
James’ injury with the Lakers sidelined him for most of the 2019 season
When James made the decision to join the Los Angeles Lakers for the 2018-19 season, which brought a lot of life back to the Lakers’ organization, James was on the path to lead the Lakers to the playoffs for the first time since 2013. But another injury happened that put James’ season on hold.
In December of 2018, the Lakers were taking on the Warriors on Christmas when James suffered a groin injury. The three-time NBA champion had issues with his groin in the past, and the injury was a massive blow for him and the team.
The Lakers were a playoff team while James was playing, and after his injury, the team’s morale was never the same. When the team decided to shut James down for the rest of the season, it would mark the first time in 13 years that James would miss the playoffs, and his streak of eight straight finals appearances ended.
James had a different mindset going into the offseason. He focused on making a full recovery to help lead the Lakers to the playoffs. During the 2019-20 season James not only played at a high level, but he also led the Lakers to top seed in the Western Conference before the NBA was put on hold. For James to recover from an injury in which he missed the most time in his career shows how dominant a player he is.
If the season resumes, James will look to lead the Lakers to their first championship since 2010. If anyone can do it, James certainly can.