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Kobe Bryant.

5 ways the NBA has changed since the last time LeBron James didn't make the Finals

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LeBron James has dominated the Eastern Conference for almost this entire decade.

When he takes the court to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA Finals next week against the Golden State Warriors, it'll be just another season where he is the Beast of the East.

James has been to the NBA Finals seven years in a row now, starting his run in 2010-11 with the Miami Heat, leading that franchise to the Finals four years in a row, winning two titles.

Then, after coming back to Cleveland in free agency three summers ago, he has led the Cavaliers to the Finals now three years in a row.

The last time the NBA Finals were played without LeBron was on June 17, 2010 as the Boston Celtics played in Staples Center against the Los Angeles Lakers for Game 7.

Of course, Kobe Bryant earned his fifth ring that night, topping the Celtics 83-79 in a sloppy yet memorable game.

Here are five ways the NBA is different since LeBron James last did not make it to the NBA Finals:

2010 NBA Draft

JOHN WALL WAS NOT IN THE LEAGUE YET

Hard to believe, since the Washington Wizards point guard is now a true veteran who has had his career climb up a steady trajectory since being drafted in the summer of 2010 out of Kentucky.

Wall has had a nice, pretty long career since then, finally building up to an All-Star level in 2014 and making the All-NBA team for the first time this year, getting on the third team.

Other veterans who were drafted in 2010 include DeMarcus Cousins, Gordon Hayward and Paul George.

2010 NBA All Star Game

CHRIS KAMAN WAS AN ALL-STAR

Yes, it happened.

The former Central Michigan star, known around the league as "The Caveman", made the 2010 NBA All-Star Game as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers.

That year, Kaman averaged 18.5 points and 9.5 rebounds for the Clips, who drafted him in 2003 and had him for his first eight years.

After leaving L.A., Kaman would have mostly forgettable stops in New Orleans, Dallas, the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland, where he was last seen playing for the Blazers in 16 games in 2015-16.

"Kareem: Minority Of One" New York Premiere

DAVID STERN HAD FOUR YEARS LEFT AS COMMISSIONER

With the Donald Sterling fracas and all of the other things on Adam Silver's plate, it seems like the current commish has been in place for at least a decade.

Well, turns out, Silver has been in charge for just three years, taking over in 2014.

Stern, who started his run as league commish in 1984, was still fighting the players union with a lockout coming in the summer of 2011, which delayed the 2011-12 season until Christmas.

Portland Trail Blazers v Dallas Mavericks - Game Five

STOUDEMIRE, BOGUT, BRANDON ROY MADE ALL-NBA

Every year, the NBA honors 15 players to be on the three All-NBA teams. It provides a pretty good snapshot of what was going on in the league that season.

Well, some pretty amazing names were on those lists.

On the second team, Amar'e Stoudemire made the list. This was his last year with the Phoenix Suns and he was still a force. He would join the New York Knicks in 2010-11, making second team All-NBA again in his first year in New York.

The third team had a couple incredible names too.

First off, Andrew Bogut made the list as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks. This was his fifth season in the league and his best, as he got 15.9 points per game.

Also, Brandon Roy of the Portland Trailblazers made the third team. This was Roy's fourth of six seasons in the league before knee injuries ended his career way too early.

NBA Finals Game 7:  Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers

RASHEED WALLACE!

Some of Rasheed's ginal NBA moments were in that 2010 NBA Finals as a member of the Celtics.

The enigmatic bounced around the league a little bit at the end of his career, landing on the veteran Celtics for the 2009-10 season. He only played 22.5 minutes per game in the regular season for Boston, a number that shrank in the postseason.

However, with Kendrick Perkins out with an injury, Wallace was called on for heavy duty in Game 7, starting and playing 35 minutes. Wallace scored 11 points and had eight rebounds before fouling out.

The game was Rasheed's last for the Celtics and it appeared his career might be over. But after sitting out two seasons, he returned for a forgettable 21-game stretch for the New York Knicks in 2012-13 - see you forgot about that, didn't you?

Topics:
NBA
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
Eastern Conference
LeBron James
NBA Playoffs
Kobe Bryant
LA Lakers
Pacific Division
Western Conference
Miami Heat
Southeast Division

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