LeBron James was named series MVP after guiding the Miami Heat to a 4-1 triumph over the Oklahoma City Thunder — and claimed the accolade was just reward for two tough years.
James was widely criticised for his much-publicised switch to Miami from hometown team Cleveland — announcing the move on a television show — and was singled out for blame as the Heat lost to the Dallas Mavericks in last year’s NBA finals.
However, this year he found redemption. “It means everything,” he told ESPN. “This is a dream come true for me, I’ve been through a lot the last two years but this is definitely the way that it pays off.
“Losing in the finals last year put me back in place. It humbled me a lot and I was able to go back to the basics. “I just looked at myself in the mirror and said ‘you need to be better’. Both on and off the floor, and I’m happy I was able to put myself and our team in a position to win it.”
James was the star man in game five against the Thunder, racking up 26 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds as he collected the first title of his illustrious career. The Heat won 121-106 on the night to wrap up the best-of-seven series with two games to spare.
Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and Mike Miller also scored 20 points or more, with Miller hitting seven of eight three-point attempts on his way to a 23-point tally.
Kevin Durant led the beaten Thunder with 32 points, James Harden and Russell Westbrook adding 19 apiece, but the home side were always in control in Florida.