NBA Finals 2012: Miami Heat Won Title Due to LeBron James' Leadership
There's no denying James' stats. He dominated the ball, doing it all for the Heat on the court with his fine play. But the biggest reason Miami won the title is that James finally learned how to become a true leader in 2012.
Leaders aren't just good on the court when the action is hot and heavy. They are also good on the sidelines, in the locker room and in the media. James proved his mastery over all aspects of NBA leadership in the 2012 postseason, and it was his leadership that guided the team through the storms that could have taken them out.
When Chris Bosh went down in Game 1 of the series against the Indiana Pacers, the Heat threatened to fall completely apart. After winning that game, they went on to lose their next two games and looked to be heading in the wrong direction.
That's when James really started asserting himself. He led his team to win the next three games in a row to win the series, four games to two.
In the next series against the Boston Celtics, James found his team down three games to two, facing elimination. He turned on the jets and willed the Heat on to victory.
Then, in the Finals, James was brilliant. Not only did he play at a level we haven't seen since Michael Jordan in terms of all-around play on both ends of the court, but James was also the top dog in terms of being a vocal leader for the Heat.
He never let any of his teammates get away with making mistakes without hearing about it from him. He made sure his teammates were accountable to one another, and his wrath was on display when they failed in their assignments.
As a result, the Heat completely dominated the Thunder in the Finals, holding James Harden and Kevin Durant hostage on the offensive end of the court. Russell Westbrook tried to make up the difference, but his erratic play was accentuated under the pressure of the moment.
James' leadership was highlighted in Game 5 of the Finals when Mario Chalmers started getting excited about winning the game. He started celebrating with the crowd late in the third quarter when James came over and made it clear that the game wasn't over yet and told him to essentially shut up.
James had felt the awful sting of defeat one too many times for his tastes, and he did everything in his power to make sure his team didn't succumb to that fate once again this year. He did everything right. His play was legendary, but his leadership was even more impressive to me.
Will James win more than one NBA title?
Now, instead of wondering if James will ever win an NBA title, the question turns to how many he'll win. His attitude and demeanor throughout the postseason was strictly business, and now that he has a taste of glory, I am confident he'll become obsessed with getting that feeling back on a yearly basis.
James can now relax and enjoy himself for the next few weeks, but I'm betting it won't be long until the King starts getting himself and his team ready for another run in 2013.
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