“You just witnessed one of the greatest games in NBA history,” Adam Silver announced minutes before awarding LeBron James the Finals MVP award. “The curse is over. The 53-year drought has come to an end.”
James, whose tears signaled the end of that drought, hugged the Larry O’Brien Trophy before receiving the Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP Award with—who else?—Bill Russell looking on.
“Everybody counted us out,” James reflected. “That’s when we strive the most when everybody counts us out. That’s when I strive the most when everybody counts us out.”
James scored 41 points in both Game Five and Game Six. In Game Seven, he posted only the third triple-double in an ultimate contest in Finals history. He averaged 30 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists in the Finals. Silver issued perhaps the most redundant line of the night when he informed James that the voters came to a unanimous verdict on MVP.
Teammate Kyrie Irving called him “the best player on the planet, right there,” while Tristan Thompson affirmed, “He’s a bad, bad man.”
The victory finished unfinished business for James, who dramatically left Cleveland for Miami, where he won two NBA championships, to return with a better supporting cast two years ago to win a title for the team he grew up cheering for.
“I’m home,” James told ABC interviewer Doris Burke. “This is what I came back for.”