LeBron James has lost in the NBA Finals five times throughout the course of his NBA career. And while those who argue against LeBron being the G.O.A.T. usually point to those five losses as proof that he isn’t the best basketball player to ever walk the Earth, one loss, in particular, sticks out among the rest.
The Heat’s loss to the Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals still puzzles a lot of people. After jumping out to a 2-1 series lead over Dallas, Miami lost three straight games to lose the Finals in six games—and LeBron didn’t do much at all during the Finals that year. He averaged just under 18 points per game against the Mavericks and scored just 8 points in Game 4 in what was undoubtedly one of the lowest moments of his career. Some of LeBron’s biggest critics (ahem Skip Bayless) will never get over how poorly LeBron played that June, regardless of what he's been able to accomplish since.
It sounds like one of LeBron’s former Heat teammates is one of the people still trying to come to terms with it, too. Back in 2011, Eddie House was looking to close out his NBA career by winning a championship with Miami. But he was obviously unable to do that after the Heat collapsed, and while making an appearance on FS1’s Undisputed this week, he put a lot of blame on LeBron for the Heat’s loss to the Mavericks. House—who only averaged about 6 points per game during the 2011 Finals—even went as far as to suggest LeBron "quit" on his teammates during the series. He used it to argue against LeBron being in the G.O.A.T. discussion.
"I can't get over the fact he didn't show up in Dallas," House said. "Not only because I was on the team, but the fact he was the best player and everybody was dependent on him to show up and do what he does, and he was M.I.A. He had a bad series. [Michael] Jordan never had that. People killed James Harden for having a bad series last year... but you going to say somebody who quit in the Finals, [at] the end of everything, when all the marbles are on the table, that he's the greatest of all time? I can't buy it."
"Quit" seems like a strong word to use in relation to LeBron’s lackluster Finals performance. But then again, House is one of the few people who would actually have first-hand knowledge of how LeBron approached the Finals in 2011. You can check out his Undisputed appearance in the clip above to hear him break down his thoughts on LeBron further.