LeBron James made good on his pledge to deliver multiple championships to the Miami Heat, winning a second straight National Basketball Association title with an eye on more.
James scored 37 points and grabbed 12 rebounds last night in Miami as the Heat beat the San Antonio Spurs 95-88 in Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
It was the 18th decisive seventh game in the 66-year history of the championship series, with home teams now owning an 15-3 record.
The Heat prevented the Spurs from winning their fifth NBA title in 15 years and Tim Duncan from joining John Salley as the second player to win championships in three decades.
The victory also furthers the legacy of James, who joins Michael Jordan and Bill Russell as the only players to win NBA Most Valuable Player awards and championships in back-to-back seasons.
“The vision I had when I decided to come here is beginning to come true,” said James, who joined the Heat before the 2010- 11 season after seven seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“To win back-to-back championships is an unbelievable feeling. This is what it’s all about.”
James hit a 19-foot jump shot with 27 seconds left to give the Heat a 92-88 lead after Duncan missed a pair of shots at close range that could have tied the score. James then had a steal and made a pair of free throws with 23 seconds remaining to seal the victory and earn the NBA Finals MVP trophy, which he received after the game from Russell.
Dwyane Wade added 23 points and 10 rebounds for the Heat, while Shane Battier matched his season high with 18 points off the bench by hitting 6-of-8 3-point shots. "It's better to be timely than good," Battier said at the trophy presentation ceremony as confetti fell at midcourt.
James, who later cradled the championship trophy as he was sprayed with celebratory champagne in the Miami locker room, joins Elgin Baylor as the second NBA player to score 30 or more points in four straight postseason Game 7's.
"It became time," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of James's performance. "He always rises to the occasion when it matters the most, when the competition is fiercest." James's Game 7 playoff scoring average of 34.4 is the highest of all-time.
Jordan, who won six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls, has the second-highest at 33.7. James has now won his past two trips to the NBA Finals after losing his first two - with the Cavaliers in 2007 and following his first season with the Heat in 2011.
Duncan, whose Spurs in 2007 swept the Cavaliers, told a then 22-year-old James that “the league is going to be yours soon.” James, now 28, has made that prediction a reality.