A week after winning Olympic gold, LeBron James finally has some time to rest, and it gives a bit of an opportunity to look back at his road to his first NBA title, which began as the most coveted high school basketball talents, since, well, forever, onto his years with the Cavaliers and the painful (for Cavs fans) departure to the Miami Heat, and the two NBA finals with one sad and eventually, a happy ending.
It was always destined to be this way – The best player in the league and an NBA champion. He didn’t think he’ll win his first NBA title after nine seasons. When you’re crowned as ‘the king’ you expect the first title to come much sooner. He was already putting up incredible numbers in his second season in the league, averaging 27.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.2 assists. Slowly pieces around him added up, and James took the Cavs on his back to a anti-climatic NBA finals in 2007.
Then came the disappointing years – Two losses to the Boston Celtics and one to the Orlando Magic in the playoffs. James continued to improve while the roster around him kept shifting, trying to create a championship blend, while James won two MVP awards but kept falling short of the promised land. The more it happened, the louder the whispers got about LeBron not having what it takes to win the NBA title or lead a team to a championship.
Then came the decision, after the 2010 exit against the Boston Celtics. Many already projected it would be his last game in Cavs uniform, and they were right. The Heat weren’t front runners in the chase, but James and Chris Bosh started a trend that’s continuing now – wanting to play with friends and with other big superstars, even willing to give up on some dollars so they’ll have a better chance of winning a title; so they’ll have a bit more player to share the pressure with.
For some reason, people don’t like that, and James needed two seasons and two playoff series to step out of the hatred shadow and be finally crowned as the worthy best player in the NBA, with the championship ring on his finger finally quieting anyone who had anything bad to say about his abilities as a basketball player.