LeBron James took a lot of heat for leaving Cleveland to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami — and then failing to win a championship during their first season together. Thursday, though, James finished with a triple-double and was the unanimous selection for NBA Finals MVP.
Given everything you've been through, when the clock hit 0:00, what's the first thing that ran through your mind?
“It's about damn time. It's about damn time.”
Going back to last year's finals, the way it ended, the way you struggled, the criticism that came through in so many different ways, what's the one thing that was said or written that bothered you the most?
“That I'm selfish. That's the only thing that bothered me. A lot of people said I was a selfish person, a selfish basketball player. And you know, I strive on being a team player, doing whatever it takes to help this team win. But at the same time, I used it as motivation, I'm happy that I was able to make enough plays to put ourselves in a position to win this championship.”
You said that last year you were trying to prove something and this year you realized you didn't have to do that. How did you refocus your mind? How did you do that?
“Just went back to the basics. I knew what got me to this point and that was hard work and dedication. I never had to prove anything to anyone. My first seven years, I just went out and let the game take care of itself. Last year, I tried to prove something to everybody. I played with a lot of hate. That's not the way I play the game of basketball. I play with a lot of love, a lot of passion and that's what I got back to this year.”
With seconds left in the game, what was going on, on the bench with your show of emotion?
“This right here's the happiest day of my life. It's the happiest day of my life, and I wouldn't want to spend it with nobody else in the world besides my teammates, these fans. Oh my God, you guys are unbelievable, and this is a dream come true.”
COMPILED BY RYAN ABER