When LeBron James exercised his right to align himself with a competent NBA team, his decision turned him into one of the most vilified athletes on the entire planet.
However, LeBron's decision to take his talents to South Beach turned out to be the right one, as the Miami Heat hoisted the 2012 NBA title on June 21, defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder 121-106 at the American Airlines Arena.
"We love you Miami, thank you for your patience," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said during the trophy presentation. "We remembered last year, we wanted to make it up."
Miami's players came out with their guns blazing in Game 5, taking control early in the contest. They outscored the Thunder in every single quarter of the game, holding them to 41 percent shooting from the field, while converting on 52 percent of their field-goal attempts.
As expected, LeBron put on MVP-type numbers in Game 5, finishing with 26 points, 13 assists, and 11 rebounds. It certainly wasn't a surprise when NBA commissioner David Stern handed him the Finals MVP award.
"It means everything," LeBron said shortly after the game. "I made a difficult decision to leave Cleveland but I understood what my future was about ... I knew we had a bright future [in Miami]. This is a dream come true for me. This is definitely when it pays off."
Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade also brought their A-game, finishing with 24 and 20 points respectively.
Mike Miller gave the Heat a huge boost coming off the bench, knocking down seven of his eight three-point attempts. He finished with 23 points and 5 rebounds.
Miami's remaining role players also played pretty well, with Norris Cole and Shane Battier knocking down some big three's.
The Heat's road to the NBA Finals wasn't easy, but it only prepared them for their showdown against the Thunder. Miami fans couldn't be any happier with the results, and I'm sure we'll have many more title celebrations in the years to come.
Associated Press, "LeBron James, Heat dominate Thunder to win NBA championship"
Player and game information from ESPN.com
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