The Christmas games are coming up, and besides the exciting matchups, one thing to look forward to is seeing LeBron James in action.
In his 19 year career, James has had several noteworthy Christmas performances, and in that time, he’s battled some of the league’s greatest players.
This year, James and the Lakers take on the Brooklyn Nets. And while it won’t be the game we expected to see (since the Nets Big 3 are out), one thing is for sure: LeBron James will deliver.
Here are some of LeBron James’s best Christmas game performances.
1.) Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Orlando Magic (2003)
James wasted little time in making a name for himself in the league. In 2003, the 18-year-old James made his Christmas debut when the Cleveland Cavaliers faced the Orlando Magic in Orlando.
The Magic were led by Hall of Fame player Tracy McGrady, who had 41 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds. But James held his own.
James had 34 points and six assists, which was extremely impressive for a rookie. It was an opportunity to perform on a big stage and show the world he’s here to stay, and he stepped up to the challenge.
The young forward also earned McGrady’s respect as after the game, he spoke highly of James.
“He’s not 18,” McGrady said. “Can’t possibly be. If he continues to work hard and stay hungry, it can be ugly. It’s scary how good he can be. You just look at him, man. The poise that he has out on the basketball court. The confidence. He has that swagger.”
And as we see, McGrady was right.
2.) Miami Heat vs. Los Angeles Lakers (2010)
In his first year with the Miami Heat, James had a great Christmas performance. He finished the game with 27 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists (his first Christmas triple-double).
He joined the likes of players like Oscar Robertson and John Havlicek as players that recorded triple-doubles on Christmas.
The Heat won this game 96-80, and the Big 3 outperformed the trio of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom. This was the second time James and Bryant met on Christmas, and despite the Lakers’ struggles, it was a game to remember.
3.) Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (2016)
The Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers rivalry was something special. These teams met in the NBA Finals for four consecutive years, and this Christmas game came after the Cavs won their first championship.
James had 31 points and 13 rebounds as the Cavs beat the Warriors 109-108.
This game was even more exciting as the Warriors added Kevin Durant in the offseason. This made the Warriors a stronger team and arguably the favorites to win the championship. So, this game was a must-watch.
Durant finished the game with 36 points and 15 rebounds. The Warriors had a chance to win this game, but a young Kyrie Irving had other plans. Irving hit a game-winning shot with three seconds left in the game to seal the win. James and the Cavs played well and gained the upper hand over the Warriors.
LeBron James has played in 15 Christmas games (16 counting Saturday’s), and he usually shows out. Will we see the same thing this year?