James: Losing in 2011 Made Me Humble
Fate did LeBron James the most magnificent favor, forcing failure upon him a season ago, leaving him humiliated, hurting and hurtling into despair. That championship would’ve been met with shrugs and so-whats, a resentment rising out of the way these Miami Heat were assembled, the clustering of stars on a smoke-filled stage promising an unprecedented dominance. Too fast. Too easy. Failure was the greatest thing to happen to his career because it changed the prism with which the world viewed James, and most of all, the way LeBron James viewed himself.
“The best thing that happened to me was us losing in the Finals [in 2011], and me playing the way I played,” James said late Thursday night inside the AmericanAirlines Arena, sitting between the two most remarkable bookends of his basketball life: The Larry O’Brien NBA championship trophy and the Russell MVP award. His eyes washed over to them, his fingers touched them now and again, almost as though he still was checking to know that they were real, that most of all, they belonged to him.
“It was the best thing to ever happen to me in my career because basically I got back to the basics,” he said. “It humbled me. I knew I was going to have to change as a basketball player, and I was going to have to change as a person to get what I wanted.”