LeBron James and the Lakers are kings of the NBA after Los Angeles annihilated Miami in a Game 6 bloodbath on Monday (AEDT).
James’ personal duel with Heat star Jimmy Butler at-times overshadowed the series, but the King had the final say as he strolled to his fourth NBA Championship with a 106-93 win inside the NBA’s Florida bubble.
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James was able to come from the floor with three minutes to play and soak-in the thrill of success with emotional teammates.
He was celebrating an NBA title with a third different team, while the Lakers were also celebrating the iconic franchise’s first championship since Kobe Bryant led the team to the title in 2010.
While James again starred for the Lakers with a triple-double, it was the unheralded Lakers supporting cast that carried the Lakers to a dominant 64-36 lead at half time.
The Lakers out-hustled, out-muscled and out-played the Heat, making sure it wouldn’t come down to any last-gasp effort as it did when they were denied in game five on Saturday.
Four Lakers players had scored in double-figures by halftime. Rajon Rondo was a perfect six-for-six from the floor in the first half as the Lakers built the second-largest halftime lead in NBA Finals history.
The Heat never looked like threatening the Lakers after fighting valiantly to force the series into a sixth game.
But, in the end, they were still blown off the court.
The Lakers did not trail the entire game and could have won by 50 if they’d decided to keep their stars on the floor.
James finished with 28 points, 14 boards and 10 assists. He was well supported by Anthony Davis (19 points and 15 rebounds), Rondo (19 points) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (17 points).
James’ triple-double was the 28th of his career in the playoffs — leaving him just two short of Magic Johnson’s record 30 post-season triple-doubles.
The former Cavs superstar was also named NBA Finals MVP — putting a cherry on top of his dream Lakers season on the court.
When handed the microphone in the post-game presentation, James let everyone know he wants his freakish place in history recognised.
“To be a part of such a historic franchise, it’s an unbelievable feeling,” James said.
“Not only for myself, but my teammates, for the organisation, for the coaches, for the trainers, for everybody that’s here. We just want our respect. Rob (Pelinka) wants his respect. Coach (Frank) Vogel wants his respect, our organisation wants its respect. Lakers Nation want their respect. And I want my damn respect too.”
Vogel was happy to give it to him in his post-game press conference too.
“He’s the greatest player the basketball universe has ever know,” Vogel said of James.
“If you think you know, you don’t know.”
James was perfectly giddy as he celebrated his fourth championship, while Davis was spotted wiping away tears as he celebrated his first NBA Championship.
In the most turbulent NBA season in history — the 2020 Lakers seem destined to go down in history as the team that conquered the coronavirus bubble as well as the league.