Is LeBron James a choker?

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Is LeBron James a clutch player or is he a choker when the big moments come?

It’s a question that many commentators and fans have posed when the four-time MVP has failed to step up in big NBA Finals moments.

But James has won the most valuable player award in the NBA four times, and he has played a major role in helping Miami Heat to back to back world titles, winning the NBA Finals MVP twice.

As we head towards the playoffs yet again, Miami Heat are in a good position to try and go for a three-peat, but would you trust LeBron with the game on the line?

I guess if we are to truly decide whether or not LeBron is clutch or a choker, we have to first define what it means to be a clutch player or someone who doesn’t live up to that mark.

The word clutch comes from the Austrian language and it means key, but American sports seem to have taken the word under their wing, and now it is part and parcel of every day US sports life.

Some define clutch as the ability to perform when the game is on the line, whereas it can also mean to simply perform under intense pressure. 

Over the course of his career to date, LeBron certainly has provided his fair share of fails with last second throws.

This has led to well known sports commentator Skip Bayless ripping into James every time he misses a last second winning shot.

But even though this is certainly a damming indictment of LeBron's ability to end a game with a last second walk off beater buzzer, it doesn't define him as a player in the big games.

Performing in the clutch is about performing under intense pressure. So stats over the course of a big game are equally important. And James has these in abundance.

One game in particular sticks out and that was in 2012 against the Indiana Pacers. 

With their season on life support, and his legacy possibly about to take a hit, LeBron stepped up.

Playing 44 minutes he scored 40 points, had 18 rebounds, nine assists, two steals and two blocks.

The Heat won the game 101-93, and James spearheaded their charge on the NBA title from there.

It was the kind of performance that only a select few in NBA history could be capable of. A clutch performance.

LeBron has scored the second highest amount of points in the last five minutes of league games this season, which further proves is strong play under intense pressure.

He may not have as many clutch last second shots as some of the other greats, which does point to the fact that he can choke in certain moments.

But this doesn't define him as a choker, with his stats in big games speaking much louder than any missed opportunities to light up his highlight reels even more.

LeBron James
NBA Playoffs
Miami Heat

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