For The King to be crowned, he had to step off his throne, throw himself into the reality that moments such as these come from places beyond within.
And that is the largely untold story of this ride to previous unreachable heights, championship heights.
He had to let part of himself go, had to reach out to others, had to be a part of others to reach what had been viewed as his birthright.
Three times during the NBA playoffs, James reached out to Hakeem Olajuwon, a two-time champion who had injected a much-needed element into LeBron's game in the offseason, a post-up element for a player whose physique practically demanded such an approach.
NBA finals: Heat def. Thunder 4-1
Winderman: LeBron James has been a prodigy, superstar and villain. And now he's champion. The journey has left the league and Finals MVP humbled and happy for those closest to him.
Because for as much as Reggie Miller at the start of these playoffs chastised James for reaching out to others instead of reaching within, those who knew, knew what this coronation would mean.
As did James himself.
"It was a journey for myself," he said. "I don't want to compare it to any other player, but it was definitely a journey. Everything that went along with me being a high school prodigy when I was 16 and on the cover of Sports Illustrated, to being drafted and having to be the face of a franchise, everything that came with it, I had to deal with and I had to learn through it. No one had went through that journey, so I had to learn on my own. All the ups and downs, everything that came along with it, I had to basically figure it out on my own."
Because he finally trusted others, allowed them into his sanctum — be it Pat Riley or Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh — this inner circle delivered the inner peace never there in Cleveland, where management and ownership kowtowed. And then he turned down, tuned out the noise.
"The biggest thing I learned is that you can't control what people say about you, what people think about you," he said. "You just have to be true to yourself and true to the people that surround you and your loved ones."
Regular-season MVP. NBA Finals MVP. But, most significantly at the end of this journey, locker-room soul mate.
"Until this season," Wade said, "when we had a group, a team meeting, and for the first time I heard LeBron James open up, and he kind of let us in on what it's like to be LeBron James. None of us really know. I said, as one of his close friends, I said, 'Wow, I don't deal with that, and I deal with a lot.'
"So to be here, man, and see him get his first championship, I'm so happy for him. I don't know if I could be happier for another guy, another man to succeed in life as I am for him. I know what he's went through to get to this point."
Thursday was LeBron's salvation. And the rest of the Big Three were more than willing to allow him to stand alone.
"I told him at one point," Bosh said, "'Being yourself is good enough, you don't have to do anything. You don't have to prove anything to anybody. Play this game the way you love, and everything will take care of itself.'"
This time, it did.
"I'm very happy right now to be a champion," LeBron said. "Nobody can take that away from me."
PBT: San Antonio found what worked and it’s on the Grizzlies to raise their level enough in Game 2 in San Antonio on Tuesday to get a split in the series.
PBT: The Pacers were too tough for the Knicks, but Miami is a different animal. The clubs face off in the East finals, starting Wednesday night.
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PBT Extra: Kurt Helin previews the matchup between Heat-Pacers in the Eastern Conference finals by taking a look at Chris Bosh and Roy Hibbert. Helin thinks the Heat will win the series in six hotly contested games.
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