Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Miami Heat forward LeBron James (center) celebrates winning his first NBA title after a
4-1 series win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. (Photo by Steve Mitchell/US Presswire)

Finally, the king can take his rightful throne.

LeBron James waited nine seasons to call himself a champion, but those dreams became reality after the Miami Heat’s series-clinching win in Game 5 of the 2012 NBA Finals Thursday.

“It’s about damn time,” a relieved James said after winning Finals MVP honors shortly after the game.

In James’ two previous trips to the NBA Finals, he came away with losses to the San Antonio Spurs in 2007 and the Dallas Mavericks last year.

While facing added scrutiny after losing to the Mavs and how he handled going to Miami, James stated that the setbacks taught him a valuable lesson.

In James' first year in Miami, the Heat overcame struggles to reach the 2011 NBA Finals.
Yet, they lost to the Dallas Mavericks in six games. (Photo by Robert Duyo/MCT)
“It took me to go all the way to the top and then hit rock bottom, basically, to realize what I needed to do as a professional athlete and as a person,” James said. “The best thing that happened to me last year was us losing in the Finals.”

Heading into this year, James worked on his post play with Hall of Fame center and two-time NBA champion Hakeem Olajuwon. The results paid huge dividends.

He averaged 27.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists en route to his third MVP award and leading the Heat to a 46-20 record.

“He really took being the best player in the league to another level,” Dwyane Wade said. “And he did it all season, man.”

However, LeBron and the Heat still faced their problems in the postseason.

The Indiana Pacers took a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference Semifinals thanks to Chris Bosh’s abdominal injury in Game 1 and Wade’s struggles in Game 3.

The Heat would win the next three games to take the series in six.
James won his third NBA MVP during the 2011-12 season, becoming
just the eighth player to do so. (Photo by Wilfredo Lee/AP Photo)

The Boston Celtics jumped out to a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals and James’ performance in the clutch was once again placed in the spotlight.

He would put up an absolute gem in Game 6 of 45 points, 15 rebounds and five assists to spark Miami and take the series in seven games.

It was clear that James took over the reigns as the leader of this team with his play. In the postseason, he averaged 30.3 points and 9.7 rebounds per game en route to his first title. The adversity that he faced in each of the last nine years in the NBA and his high school years had finally paid off.

“It was a journey,” James said. “Everything that went along with along with me being a high school prodigy when I was 16 and on the cover of Sports Illustrated to being drafted and having to be the face of a franchise and everything that came along with it. I had to deal with it and I had to learn through it. No one had gone through that journey and I had to learn on my own. I can finally say that I’m a champion.”

With James just reaching his prime at just 27 years old, it is safe to say that he will be in the conversation of winning more titles for quite some time while becoming even better player (scary, right?) than what he already is.

With the first one—and possibly the hardest one—finally out of the way, who knows?

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