NBA Finals 2012: LeBron James Makes His Mark in History

Al Rieger@Al RiegerCorrespondent IJune 21, 2012

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 21:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat stands with his head down during pregame festivities against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Five of the 2012 NBA Finals on June 21, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Well, it happened.

LeBron James has silenced the critics. There was little doubt, after consecutive three-point plays by James halfway into the first quarter, the Miami Heat would win Game 5 and the 2012 NBA Finals.

Although it wasn't a superhuman effort, James still had a triple-double (26 points, 11 rebounds, 13 assists) and was calm and collected, letting his teammates in on the fun and playing hard defense on Kevin Durant. Oklahoma City’s young superstar still had 32 points, but LeBron challenged almost every shot, seemingly taking Serge Ibaka’s foolish words to heart

Since his NBA arrival, his future was painted without a championship. Put on a pedestal early in his career, LeBron became the target of constant scrutiny. Year after year without a ring, critics had their affirmation of his inadequacy.         

Now, after nine years in the NBA, LeBron has his recognition. At this point, he is the best player in the world. No other player in the history of the game has the same impact on the game.   

That’s right, even M.J.   

The fact is Jordan had a master coach, a strategist who had an arsenal of role players at his disposal. Jordan was glorified by the media but the reality was team depth, cohesion and a coach who knew how to win.

The Miami Heat’s game plan is a little different—give the ball to James and get out of the way. It’s not his killer instinct or some clutch gene. It’s pure talent. Pure basketball. You can see it in his face when he throws down a monstrous one-handed dunk. It’s a confidence that says “I’m better than you and always will be.” Dwayne Wade sees it too. He wisely relinquished his throne to LeBron, something I’m sure wasn’t an easy thing to do. 

In this shortened season, a historic transformation has taken place within the soon-to-be finals MVP.  With so much pressure on his shoulders, he delivered. On the brink of elimination against the Boston Celtics, he delivered. In the face of so much criticism, he delivered. If Carl Malone was the mailman, LeBron is UPS. What can LeBron do for you?

For the Heat, he’s done quite a bit. Bringing his talents to South Beach was the right move, no matter how distasteful it may have seemed. The guy wanted to win and made it happen. 

Now that LeBron has one, there’s no stopping him. It’s like a jump shooter needing to see a shot drop before making more. LeBron just saw one go in, and he’s about to get hot.