I couldn't pick just one game from LeBron James' epic 2012 campaign to his first ever NBA Championship, so I highlighted it all. Each and every moment. This was indeed one of the greatest stretches of games I've witnessed as a basketball fan.
Add the pressure. The fan and media scrutiny. The past failures. It all came to a head in this playoff run, and LeBron James rose above it all with the greatest playoff run in recent memory.
With every performance, the praises became louder, and the doubters became silent. No longer was James a prisoner of his own success. He played with a liberated, free aura but still brought the intensity we are used to seeing from "The King."
The Heat disposed of a New York Knicks team that posed an equally effective crop of stars in only five games, and LeBron took over in Game 3 in the fourth quarter. He was matched up with fellow 2003 draftee Carmelo Anthony, a person many believed would be LeBron's equal and rival for years to come.
But in this series, James showed that he is a far more capable leader on both ends of the floor than Carmelo. With the exception of Game 4, he took Anthony out of the series entirely.
In the next round, the Miami Heat faced a great challenge in the young and deep Indiana Pacers. They surprised Miami and took a 2-1 lead with a chance to take a 3-1 back to Miami, threatening to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2003.
The Heat were without Chris Bosh, who injured his abdomen in Game 1, and Dwyane Wade was coming off the single-worst performance of his career in Game 3.
But LeBron James would take the series by the horns. After Dwyane Wade struggled once again to get going early, LeBron began to dominate at the offensive end, aggressively looking for his shot but not settling for anything. As the game went on, LeBron got Wade back into the flow of things with a couple of beautiful passes, and the flood gates opened.
James and Wade would dominate the second half and win the game convincingly. They didn't allow Indiana to win another game, finishing the series in six. LeBron finished with 40 points, shooting a torrid 14-of-27 from the field, grabbing 18 huge rebounds and dishing a phenomenal nine assists in one of the great all-time playoff games of this era.
But LeBron was far from done. In a series that many analysts had predicted the Heat to win by a landslide, the Boston Celtics had taken a 3-2 lead after an amazing win in South Beach in a pivotal Game 5 and were looking to advance to the NBA Finals for the third time in six years.
All the doubters and cynics began to murmur, and many predicted that Boston was the favorite to win at home and send LeBron and the Heat home once again without a ring. What would transpire would be the exact opposite.
Paul Pierce picked a lovely time to have his worst game of the season, and the Celtics played like a team that had already won. LeBron James picked the Celtics' defense apart from start 'til finish, embarrassing Mickael Pietrus and Brandon Bass. Every time Boston made a run to close the gap, James had an answer. A crushing follow slam going into halftime silenced the crowd and afterwards they didn't really have the same intensity.
Rajon Rondo played a sloppy game riddled with turnovers, and it seemed to me after playing with such fervor and determination in the earlier games, the Boston Celtics just went through the motions, hoping the Heat would lay down.
Each time LeBron made a basket, you felt it. His 30-point outburst in the first half was simply incredible. The league MVP single-handedly beat a team into submission. The Celtics gave up.
Miami would win a dramatic series at home and go on to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games for the NBA Title.
And how does LeBron James close out the series? With a triple-double, of course. His only one of the postseason.
Most players couldn't put up these type of numbers for one game, let alone an entire playoff run. LeBron James is truly the best player in basketball today.