LeBron James making the NBA Finals is about as inevitable as the sun rising nowadays.
Following yesterday’s extraordinary solo effort against Boston in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, James – and, technically, the rest of the Cleveland Cavaliers – qualified for the 2018 NBA Finals.
That makes eight consecutive NBA Finals that LeBron has qualified for.
The last time James did not feature in an NBA Finals series was way back in 2010, when the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics fought out a seven-game classic, in what at the time was a stiffy-inducing prospect for NBA officials due to the large amount of business and TV viewership it generated.
Since then, it’s been all LeBron. Four straight Finals appearances with the Miami Heat, followed by four straight Finals appearances with the Cavs. Four losses, three NBA Championships, and one to come.
While it might not seem like the longest time since then, a lot of stuff has happened since LeBron started making the Finals his home. And it’s giving everyone a case of the vapours.
Folks on the ole’ social media have been pointing out exactly what the world was like the last time the NBA Finals was contested without LeBron James on the court, and it’s a wild ride.
For starters, here’s a photo of what Jayson Tatum – the guy LeBron just beat to make this year’s series – looked like the last time LeBron didn’t make the Finals.
This is what Jayson Tatum looked like the last time there was an NBA Finals without LeBron James. pic.twitter.com/GPhhFLa5B6— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) May 28, 2018
It gets better. In 2010? Instagram wasn’t around. iPads were only just hitting shelves for the first time. Drake wasn’t even a thing yet.
The last time Lebron wasn’t in the finals:— Jason ???? (@Darezay) May 28, 2018
1. Instagram wasn’t invented
2. The Saints won the super bowl
3. iPads were just invented
4. Kyrie Irving was still in high school
5. Drakes first album didn’t drop yet
6. Justin Bieber was the biggest star pic.twitter.com/lsnGKQ5ILt
The last time LeBron missed the Finals…— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) May 28, 2018
– Shaq was his teammate
– The first Avengers movie was two years away from being released
– Mike Trout was playing in A ball for the Cedar Rapids Kernals https://t.co/3Dt7DuE766
It gets wilder.
At the conclusion of the 2010 NBA Finals (June 17, 2010), the last time a series was contested without LeBron:
- The Box Office number one film in America was Shrek Forever After; we were still a few weeks short of Toy Story 3 hitting cinemas.
- Inception and The Social Network were yet to hit cinemas.
- The number one album in Australia was ‘To the Sea‘ by Jack Johnson.
- Kevin Rudd was in his first term as Prime Minister of Australia, before being knifed and replaced by Julia Gillard.
- The One Direction boys hadn’t yet auditioned as solo contestants on the British X-Factor.
- The 2010 FIFA World Cup had only just begun, meaning the world was slowly being introduced to what the living fuck a vuvuzela was.
- Geelong was on top of the AFL Ladder, closely followed by Collingwood and St Kilda.
- St George-Illawarra was en route to completing a dominant season of the NRL.
- Bruno Mars had not yet released his debut album.
- Osama bin Laden was still alive.
- Game of Thrones had not yet premiered on HBO.
- Steph Curry was about to finish second in the NBA Rookie of the Year stakes, behind Tyreke Evans.
- Keeping Up With The Kardashians was about to air its fifth season (jesus christ that show’s been on the air for ages).
- Kanye West was preparing to release My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy later in the year.
- The hit Channel Ten drama Offspring had not yet premiered.
- Apple was preparing to launch the iPhone 4. FOUR.
- Sydney still had a functional and thriving night life.
There are primary schools with classes full of kids who only know the NBA Finals with LeBron James in it.
It’s something a bit special, TBH.