Since the time he entered the NBA, there was no question that LeBron James was destined for stardom. But like any other athlete, he needed to mature. That included being able to take the big shots when crunch time comes.
For the benefit of those who may have lost track, James seems to have quietly transitioned towards that when he won his first NBA title with the Miami Heat back in 2012. It was in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals when James drew criticism for disappearing at crucial stretches of the game. He put a stop to that when he unraveled a magnificent out during game 6 against the Boston Celtics.
In that game, the top pick of the 2001 NBA Draft unleashed 45 points, 15 rebounds, and five assists to help the Heat even the series with the Celtics. Miami would go on to win the series, 4-3, with James following up that performance with 31 points and 12 caroms in the clincher. James knows this very well and gave some interesting details on why his game 6 performance came about via Instagram.
"My mentality was, if we lose, Pat Riley may break us all up. And I didn’t want that. It might be the quickest breakup in basketball history. And not only might they break it all up, my legacy is going to take a huge, huge hit if I don’t go out here and perform at an all-time high. Win, lose or draw, I had to be focused. I had to lock in and lead us to victory. Didn’t know if it was going to happen that way, but that was my mindset," James said.
That breakout performance was all James needed to prove to one and all that he can take the big shots. Most felt he could do so but the three-time NBA champion just needed to push himself a bit more to get the monkey off his back. He has since been a composed and dangerous player when crunch time comes with NBA teams placed on notice.
At 35 years old, it remains to be seen just how long James will keep on playing pro basketball. He is currently with the Los Angeles Lakers and their current NBA campaign looks promising. Though the competition right now is tougher, the King could very well rack up more NBA rings in the coming years. It is a new challenge for the four-time NBA MVP who has pretty much-accomplished anything a pro basketball player would dream off.