Friday June 22, 2012
Third chance for King James to claim NBA ring
MIAMI: LeBron James is grateful for another chance to win his first NBA title and underline his claim as the greatest basketball player in the world.
James and his Miami Heat team-mates reached the Finals last year but fell to the Dallas Mavericks in six games. As a 22-year-old in 2007, James and the Cleveland Cavaliers were swept in four games by the San Antonio Spurs.
Now in his second year with the Heat, the self-proclaimed ĎKing Jamesí has emerged as the team leader and dominant player in the Finals in his third crack at claiming an NBA ring.
The Heatís Game Four victory over Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday gave them a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series, and the chance to clinch the title on their home court yesterday.
Despite the three-time Most Valuable Playerís enviable record and his leading role in the series so far, team-mate Shane Battier said Jamesís place in the NBA pantheon would not be secure without a title.
ďIn the information age, perceptions and reputations are made and broken down a lot more quickly, a lot more cheaply than they used to be,Ē the 13-year NBA veteran told reporters at the end of Wednesdayís practice.
ďWhether we like it or not, thatís the way we value icons in our society.
ďItís how many Oscars have you won, how many Nobel Peace Prizes have you won. Have you been published in the Harvard Business Review? What were your earnings last year as a CEO?
ďIf you want to be remembered as one of the greatest, you need it. You need it. You can be great but itís difficult to reach the pantheon without it.Ē
James was asked about his disappointing Finals last season, when his influence was sorely missed during crunch time throughout the 4-2 series loss to the Mavericks.
ďLast year after Game Six, after losing once again, I was very frustrated,Ē the 27-year-old said.
ďI was very hurt that I let my team-mates down. Last year I played to prove people wrong instead of just playing my game, instead of just going out and having fun and playing a game that I grew up loving.
ďThe greatest teacher you can have in life is experience. Iíve experienced some things in my long but short career, and Iím able to make it better for myself throughout these playoffs and throughout this whole year and thatís on and off the court.Ē
James said he was not about to get ahead of himself.
ďHuman nature is to automatically think about after we win it, what are we going to do? Iím not there. I wonít get there until those zeros hit and I see that we won,Ē he said.
ďIím the leader of this team, and Iím not comfortable right now. Iím comfortable in my game, but Iím not going to be comfortable until we seal this thing.
ďGame Five is a Game Seven for us. Itís a must-win for them, but itís a must-win for us, too. As a leader of this team, Iíll approach it that way.Ē ó Reuters