Screen Shot 2016-06-19 at 10.55.35 PM

James Delivers on Championship Promise to Cleveland

Screen Shot 2016-06-19 at 10.55.35 PMAll LeBron James had left as the final buzzer sounded were tears to shed.

Once a 93-89 victory was sealed, James fell to the ground, hunched over unable to process the moment that finally happened.

A 27 point, 11 rebound, 11 assist, three block, two steal effort from James, just the third triple-double effort in a Game 7 of the NBA Finals completed his lifelong journey.

For the first time in 52 years, Cleveland will have a championship parade.  

The singular goal he had since being selected with the first overall pick on June 26, 2003 was finally achieved, 4,743 days later as he carried the Cavaliers to their first NBA championship, in spectacular fashion.

James was unanimously crowned the MVP of the 2016 NBA Finals after he knocked off the first unanimous regular season MVP on his home court.

For the first time in his career, James eliminated any questions about his placement in the league’s all time hierarchy.

After he became the first player to post the highest averages in scoring, rebounding and assists in the 2015 NBA Finals, James repeated the feat, only adding the highest number of steals and blocks for good measure.

As the Cavaliers avenged their series defeat from a year ago, James was even more dominant, posting 29.7 points, 11.3 rebounds, 8.9 assists, 2.6 steals and 2.3 blocks per game.

The title was the first for the city of Cleveland since the Browns won the NFL title in 1964, the exact reason why James forfeited a potential dynasty with the Heat.

Cleveland forward LeBron James rejected 27 shots during the 2016 playoffs, the highest total of his career.
Cleveland forward LeBron James rejected 27 shots during the 2016 playoffs, the highest total of his career.

James has strived to make the Cavaliers champions and 13 years after being chosen with the first overall pick of the 2013 NBA Draft, he accomplished the feat.

It came as James managed to control the game on both ends of the floor Sunday night in Oracle Arena, a venue only three other teams in 56 tries this season captured a victory.

For the first time since Nov. 2013, the Warriors dropped three consecutive games, at at the worst possible moment, becoming the first team in NBA Finals history to lose the title after taking a 3-1 series lead.

Once his team was facing elimination, James exhibited his strength, forcing the series to go seven games by posting averages of 41 points, 12 rebounds, 9.0 assists, 3.5 steals and 3.5 blocks in Game 5 and 6.

Midway through the fourth quarter Sunday night, the Warriors appeared to be pulling away.

A spin move from Stephen Curry created an uncontested path to the rim, but his layup hit off the front rim, only to bounce into the hands of Draymond Green.

The All-Star forward punctuated his 32 point, 15 rebound, nine assist night with by tapping in Curry’s missed shot, extending Golden State’s advantage to 87-83 with 5:37 remaining in the game.

James staged a personal 6-0 run, as he created mismatches to draw a foul on a long range shot, then sank a jumper from 26-feet out, helping Cleveland wrestle the lead away from Golden State.

Klay Thompson tied the game at 89, leading to the most intense sequence of the entire series.

The teams traded 12 consecutive possessions — a span of 3:20 — without scoring a single point, as James erased the best chance the Warriors had, swatting a fast break layup attempt from Andre Iguodala with just over a minute remaining.

Unlike last year, as James was forced to battle the Warriors in the championship round without the star pairing of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, as the duo missed the majority of the series nursing injuries, this time he received plenty of help.

Love had become a target of critics for his lackluster play throughout the series, but he earned his first championship ring with a 14 rebound, nine point, three assist, two steal effort.

Following a slow start in the first two games of the series, Irving outplayed Curry over the final five games of the series, including a 26 point outing in Game 7.

Irving clinched the series with his step back 3-pointer over the outstretched arm of Curry.

Curry tried to tie the game, but his hurried shot didn’t even hit the rim and was grabbed by James.

Golden State was forced to foul James on the final possession of the night for Cleveland, and he split his free throws to accomplish the first title in Cavaliers franchise history.

The victory has solidified the ascension of James onto the list of the greatest to ever step onto the court, as he has to be mentioned in the same breath as Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and the rest of the NBA legends.

All that remains is for the city of Cleveland to finally celebrate.

About Brendan Galella

Brendan Galella founded Shatter the Glass to make the NBA even more accessible to basketball fans. Composing player rankings, team evaluations and intriguing observations, he hopes to turn every reader into a dedicated and educated basketball follower.

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