How Many Years Has Lebron Been In the NBA?

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LeBron James is a professional basketball player of the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA. His nickname is “King James” which makes him broadly recognized as one of the best players in NBA history. LeBron James is regularly in comparison with Michael Jordan to pick up the best basketball player ever. 

How many years has Lebron been in the NBA? LeBron has played 19 years in his career. As an NBA Finals MVP, he is the only one who has obtained NBA championships with three NBA teams (the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Miami Heat, and the Los Angeles Lakers). James has played in up to 10 NBA Finals. 

Scott Fujita will offer a list of his achievements in his NBA 19-year career: 

  • 4 NBA championships.
  • 4 NBA MVP awards.
  • 4 NBA Finals MVP awards.
  • 2 Olympic gold medals.

How Many Years Has Lebron Been In The NBA?

He has played 19 years in his career. LeBron James achieved the most First Team selections with 13 times. He even won 11 constant First Team selections. James also did make the five-time NBA All-Defensive First Team and became a 17-time All-Star.

Early Life

LeBron James did play basketball for St. Mary High School in his birthplace of Akron, Ohio, where the national media described him as a potential NBA superstar. 

High School Career

As a novice, King James had averages of  21 PTS and 6 REB per game for the St. Mary High School basketball team. This boy’s high school team had won the Division III state title and then became undefeated. 

Later, LeBron James had averages of 25.2 PTS and 7.2 REB with 5.8 AST and 3.8 STL per game. For this distinguished performance, James was honored by the USA Today All-USA First Team.

Before starting junior year, King James had appeared in Slam. The writer Ryan Jones praised him as probably the greatest high school basketball player in the US at that time. While participating in the season, James also became the model for the cover of Sports Illustrated. 

Having averaged 29 PTS, 8.3 REB, 5.7 AST, and 3.3 STL per game, he again achieved the USA Today All-USA First Team.

Professional Career

Cleveland Cavaliers (2003–2010)

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LeBron James in the Cleveland Cavaliers

2003–04: Rookie season

LeBron James became a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers as the first team of the 2003 NBA draft. In the first NBA regular season, James scored 25 PTS against the Sacramento Kings. He then set an NBA record for most PTS that a prep-to-pro basketball player could score in the debut performance. 

The Cleveland Cavaliers eventually finished the NBA season 35–47. The team failed to enter the playoffs despite improvements over the last year.

View more: How many rings does Lebron have

2004–08: Gain superstardom

LeBron James won the first NBA All-Star Game selection in 2004 – 2005. He contributed 13 PTS, 8 REB, and 6 AST in winning efforts for the Eastern Conference. 

At the 2006 NBA All-Star Game, King James led the Eastern Conference to victory with 29 PTS. In the final season, he averaged 31.4 PTS, 7 REB, and 6.6 AST per game.

In the postseason debut, King James earned a triple-double in the match with the Washington Wizards. The Cleveland Cavaliers could defeat the Washington Wizards before the team left the NBA season in the second round.

How many years straight has Lebron been in the NBA finals? In the 2006-07 season, the Cleveland Cavaliers continued to win Game 6 and gained the first Eastern Conference championship. It helped them have a matchup with the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals.

In the championship round, King James had averages of 22 PTS, 7.0 REB, and 6.8 AST per game. Unfortunately, the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers.

During the NBA playoffs of the 2007–08 season, the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Washington Wizards in the first round. But this team got ousted in seven games by the eventual champion Boston Celtics in the second round. 

2008–10: NBA MVP seasons

At the end of the NBA 2008–09 season, James scored 28.4 PTS, 7.6 REB, 7.2 AST, 1.7 STL, and 1.2 BLK per game. James received the MVP Award as the Cavaliers won.

In Game 1 of the NBA playoffs, James scored 49 PTS on 66 shooting percentage. In Game 2, the Cavaliers lost the series in six games. During the NBA series, James scored 38.5 PTS, 8.3 REB, and 8 AST per game. He finished the NBA postseason with a playoff-high 35.3 points per game.

In the 2009–10 NBA season, the team underwent the greatest loss in franchise history. James scored 27 PTS, 19 REB, 10 AST, and 9 turnovers in losing efforts.

Miami Heat (2010–2014)

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Lebron James in the Miami Heat

The Decision

Lebron James turned into a free agent on July 1, 2010. At that time, plenty of NBA teams contacted King James, such as the Los Angeles Clippers and the Miami Heat. On July 8, James announced on The Decision that he would play for the Miami Heat.

Fellow free agents including Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade claimed that they would play for Miami too. James believed that his great teammates would provide him with a better chance of earning an NBA championship than in the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Lebron James, then, could escape from the responsibility of scoring. There may be a chance for him to become the first basketball player since Oscar Robertson averaged a triple-double in an NBA season.

However, former players like Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson were critical of Lebron James. They condemned him for playing with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade in Miami Heat and not trying to achieve an NBA championship as “the man”. 

As a consequence of his decisions in 2010 free agency time, King James suddenly had a reputation as one of the US’s most disliked players.

2010–11: Fan scrutiny

The Miami Heat finally went to the NBA Finals, where they lost in six games. Lebron James suffered from the tension of the criticism for the failure. James scored an average of 17.8 PTS per game that illustrated an 8.9-point decrease from the NBA regular season. It is the biggest point drop in NBA history.

2011–13: Consecutive NBA championships

James revealed that in the 2011-12 NBA season, he got a contract to join professional football from the Dallas Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks to refresh his mind and body

In Game 5 of the 2011-12 NBA playoffs, Lebron James gained a triple-double as Miami Heat did defeat Oklahoma City for their second NBA championship.

Lebron James then became the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player as he averaged 28.6 PTS, 10.2 REB, and 7.4 AST per game. His whole postseason run, where he had averages of 30.3 PTS, 9.7 REB, and 5.6 AST per game, ranked the second greatest performance in NBA history.

In the 2012–2013 season, James scored 29.7 PTS and 7.8 AST per game. During that time, the Miami Heat also built up a 27-game streak that is the 3rd longest in modern NBA history. 

Following these achievements, Sports Illustrated illustrated Lebron James’s performance as a “month for the ages”. In the NBA Finals, he averaged 26.8 PTS, 8 REB, 7.3 AST, and 1.7 STL per game on 56.5 shooting percent.

Particularly, in Game 7, Lebron James led the Miami Heat over San Antonio with 37 PTS. He then became Finals MVP for the second NBA season with averages of 25.3 PTS, 10.9 REB, 7 AST, and 2.3 STL per game for the NBA championship round.

2013–2014: Final season in Miami

In the 2013–14 NBA season, James scored the highest 61 PTS in one game during his NBA career. In Game 2 of the NBA Finals, Lebron James led the Miami Heat to a victory with 35 PTS on a 64 shooting percent. 

San Antonio finally defeated the Miami Heat in five games. For the NBA Finals, Lebron James had averages of 28.2 PTS, 7.8 REB, and 2.0 STL per game.

Return to the Cleveland Cavaliers (2014–2018)

On June 25, 2014, Lebron James opted out of the contract with the Miami Heat. On July 1, he then again became a free agent. On July 11, Lebron James revealed through an essay in Sports Illustrated that he aimed at returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Los Angeles Lakers (2018–present)

how many years has lebron been in the nba

Lebron James in the Los Angeles Lakers

2018–19: Injuries and NBA playoff miss

On June 29, 2018, Lebron James opted out of the contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers and then again became a free agent. On July 1, 2018, James announced that he would play for the Los Angeles Lakers.

To start the 2018–19 NBA season, the team had difficulties finding efficient lineups and achieved only two wins during the first seven games. 

After the team blew out the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day, Los Angeles made some improvements yet Lebron James got the first injury during his basketball career. The Los Angeles Lakers lost in the NBA playoff contention without King James.

On March 7, 2019, the Los Angeles Lakers announced that he would start a minute restriction. On March 30, 2019, Lebron James could not join the remainder of the NBA season. It is the first time in his 12-year career that James did not get on the All-NBA First Team.

2019–20: Fourth NBA championship

In the 2019-20 NBA playoffs, the Los Angeles Lakers eventually eliminated the Miami Heat in Game 6. It helped Lebron James earn his fourth NBA championship as well as the fourth Finals MVP Award. 

At 35 years old, Lebron James became the only basketball player in NBA history to achieve the MVP award with three different NBA teams. 

2020–2021: Back-to-back chase

During the first round of the NBA playoffs, the Los Angeles Lakers had a matchup with the Phoenix Suns. It is the first time that Lebron James did not possess home-court advantages in the NBA opening series.

The Los Angeles Lakers gained 2–1 before Davis got an injury in Game 4 when Lebron James finished with averages of 25 PTS, 12 REB, and 6 AST. The Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Phoenix Suns in six games. 

James finished the NBA series with an average of 23.3 PTS. It is the fourth-lowest score in his basketball career and the lowest mark since the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals.

Lebron James has gotten more involved in philanthropy and activism later in his basketball career. His charitable organization – the LeBron James Family Foundation – gave support for opening elementary schools, housing complexes, and community centers/retail plazas in his hometown of Akron.

Final Words

Lebron James is a basketball superstar in the NBA. He is one of the best players in NBA history who can win the most NBA championships with three different teams. 

Despite a few difficulties of point drops and failures in the NBA playoffs in his career, Lebron James still gets over it and comes back with more effort in winning the NBA championships with his teammates.

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