LeBron James’ tears of joy were unstoppable as he held the Larry O’Brien championship trophy at Oracle Arena on Sunday.
He had just authored one of sports’ all-time greatest stories, a magical fairytale that Cleveland has longed for since 1964.
And this is how it had to go down: James leading the Cavaliers back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals to beat the
Golden State Warriors, the team that won an NBA-record 73 regular-season games, on the road for the NBA championship.
It was the only way.
James scored 27 points, collected 11 rebounds, delivered 11 assists, blocked three shots and had two steals – his seventh Finals triple-double – as the Cavaliers defeated the Warriors 93-89 in Game 7 on Sunday.
“I'm true to the game, and I know what I bring to the table,” James said. “I came back for a reason. I came back to bring a championship to our city. I knew what I was capable of doing. I knew what I learned in the last couple years that I was gone, and when I came back, I knew I had the right ingredients and the right blueprint to help this franchise get back to a place that we've never been. That's what it was all about.
“The game always gives back to people that's true to the game. I've watched it. I know the history of the game, and I was just calm. I was calm. I was focused. I was locked in.”
It is the first time a team has won the title after falling behind 3-1 in a Finals series, and it took one of the best performances in Finals history from James to deliver Cleveland its first major pro sports championship since the 1964 Browns.
He was named Finals MVP for the third time in his career, averaging 29.7 points, 11.3 rebounds, 8.9 assists, 2.6 steals and 2.3 blocks. He led all players on both teams in all five categories in the Finals.In three consecutive must-win games for Cleveland, James had 41 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists in Game 5; 41 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds in Game 6; and the triple-double in Game 7.