Last night (Apri 25), LeBron hit what some are referring to as an iconic game-winning three-pointer, and some are suggesting that because of this shot he is now shaking the notion that he is not a clutch player. On the contrary, there are an array of different statistics and highlights to suggest otherwise.

Another notch in the belt for LeBron

With that shot, LeBron now has more buzzer-beating shots in the playoffs than Michael Jordan, arguably the most clutch player ever. However, LeBron now has more of these shots than Jordan, shoots a higher percentage in these situations, and has a higher shooting percentage and player efficiency rating in the last two minutes of games that are within five points.

I'm not ready to suggest that LeBron is more clutch, and I have an opinion on who is better, but I'll refrain from getting into that (at least in this particular article) even though you can probably deduce what I think from this article.

The main purpose is to destroy this notion that LeBron isn't clutch. I'll start by breaking down the idea that last second shots are somehow more indicative of your big play ability than the other 46 minutes in an NBA game. I don't know about anyone else, but I would prefer the player who is so amazing in the first 46 minutes or so that I don't even need him in the final minutes because the game is over.

In the playoffs, especially recently, that has been LeBron.

He has been amassing enormous stat lines on a path to seven straight NBA Finals. That on its own should be considered clutch because he's performing at the highest level on the biggest stage. It may have looked easy to some but he's rewriting record books in the playoffs.


On top of this, this inability to close games late that people often refer to doesn't make sense even if you do hold the last shot or two of a game on some kind of pedestal.

For the sake of being succinct, instead of listing them all, I’ll highlight a few. At the age of 22, LeBron dropped 48 points and 29 of the last 30 team points to beat a Pistons team that had been to six straight conference finals. During his second year in Miami, he had consecutive 40+ point games that propelled his team to wins in Game 6 and Game 7 of that series.

In 2009, he hit an iconic game-winner against the Magic. In 2015 he hit a fadeaway game-winner in the corner to level the series against Chicago.

In 2013, against the Spurs, he put the game on ice with a mid-range jumper and then two free throws. And finally, in the 2016 series, he had an enormous chase-down block that set the stage for a Kyrie three-pointer and then hit one free throw to increase the lead to four, to ice the game. Time and time again, he has hit enormous shots, but people seem to focus in on scenarios where his team didn’t come through against a greater team and somehow from that label him as not clutch.

More stats

Even this list leaves out a few, which just goes to show the historical achievements of LeBron's career, including clutch situations.

On top of this, he has been the Finals MVP of all three of his Finals victories and probably could have been for one of his Finals losses, when he lost teammates Kyrie Irving to a knee injury and Kevin Love to a shoulder injury. Despite putting up numbers of 36 points 13 rebounds and almost nine assists per game, LeBron's primary defender won the MVP. The only thing I can take from this is that Andre Igoudala was so valuable because he held LeBron James to this historical stat line.

It's nice that people are starting to come around to the obvious but it should never have come to this. The only reason it has is that stories regarding LeBron get unheralded coverage and attention. Being the chosen one at 16, according to Sports Illustrated, pretty much dubbed him one of the greatest basketball players ever, or his career was a bust. Somehow, at this point in his career, I would suggest that he may have exceeded expectations.