“It’s about damn time.”
The words LeBron James used to describe the feeling of winning his first NBA title in his ninth season.
James can now rightly hold claim to being the King of basketball. His massive performance in game five was key to the Miami Heat’s acquiring its second (2006, 2012) Larry O’Brien Trophy.
James played 44 of the 48 minutes and delivered numbers of 26 points, 11 rebounds, 13 assists, one steal and two blocked-shots. And he was named the 2012 Finals MVP to go along with his regular-season MVP.
Since arriving in the NBA, LBJ has carried the pressure of being the number one pick in the ’03 draft, ‘the saviour’ and the ‘chosen one.’ That pressure, those expectations I believe affected James. Not in terms of filling up the stats sheet but in the way he played the game.
With less than 20 seconds remaining on the clock, James was dancing and fist-pumping on the sidelines – knowing that he had led his team to securing the championship. For two years straight he was uptight (as too was coach Spoelstra), but when the clock ticked to zero James finally got a chance to smile.
He looked like a big kid. I doubt he has felt that way since playing with his close buddies during high school.
After last season’s loss in the finals to the Dallas Mavericks, James made comments and acted immature. He is the first to put his hand up and admit that. What he also knew was that he needed to make up for the loss and improve. James well and truly did just that.
“I looked into the mirror and just back to basics.”
“Losing in the finals (against Dallas) put me back in my place.”
“I was humbled, it took me to rock bottom.”
The King decided to play the way he used to play basketball – with force, drive and having fun. That was the key – just letting it happen. He knew two things. First, how much he wanted it (a championship). Second, he wasn’t going about it the right way. During the off-season he worked extremely hard including working out with Hakeem Olajuwon and asking Magic Johnson how he could improve.
The focus paid off.
James became only the fifth player to get a triple-double in a finals clinching game – the first since Tim Duncan. He also is one of only three players to lead their teams in points, rebounds and assists during an NBA finals run. The other two: Magic Johnson and Tim Duncan.
So what next and where does LBJ sit? He was out of the all time greats huddle before game five because he was missing a championship ring. Now he is in there and still adding to the collection. To break the top ten of all time, I believe he needs multiple championships.
I’ll finish with these two points. Michael Jordan won his first title at the age of 28 – LeBron at 27 years of age. Second point. To all those haters, it’s time to shut-up and jump on the bandwagon.