In what was a 22-month journey, LeBron James' essay in July of 2014 said that his main reason to return to Cavaliers was to bring a championship to the city of Cleveland. As of Sunday night, James' goals were achieved. The city of Cleveland obtained its first professional sports championship since January of 1964. And Lee Jenkins, the long-time scribe who helped James tell his story on that July afternoon, is back with a cover story that discusses James' promise and the trials and tribulations of achieving the NBA's ultimate prize for the third time in his incredible career.
Off the court, down the tunnel, through the locker room, LeBron James squeezed himself into the back corner of a cramped coach’s office and covered his eyes with his hands. “Every night,” he said, “this is what I dreamed.” A buzzer sounding, a region roaring, and a native son—overwhelmed by the outpouring he had wrought—falling to his knees in the middle of it all. “Two years ago, in Las Vegas, I had this vision,” James recalled. “I never stopped having it.” On Saturday night, at the Four Seasons in San Francisco, James went to bed at 10:30 p.m. “I woke up at 2:30, at 4:30, at 6:30,” he reported. Finally, a little after 8:00, he gave up and hauled himself down to the gym. There was no sense sleeping on the day his dream could come true. ...
All curses are broken, but few are snapped in such flamboyant style. Not only are the Cavaliers the first team to wipe out a 3–1 deficit in the Finals, they did it against an opponent with the best record the NBA has ever seen, and they vanquished that juggernaut on its hostile home floor. The odds of taking three games in a row from the Warriors—who hadn’t dropped three straight since the fall of 2013—were akin to the Browns winning the next couple Super Bowls.
The story is a fantastic look into the process that went into this team, led by James, to come back from a previously insurmountable deficit. Film study. Insane levels of focus. The 19-20 start a season ago. The firing of a head coach and the embracing of another. The way that the Cavs brushed off all of the mouth-running of the erstwhile perfect Golden State Warriors. How all of the talk about Steph Curry potentially unseating James as the best player in the world led to No. 23 turning the dial up to Skid Row and dominating an entire NBA Finals series, only to serve as a reminder of who, in fact, is the most valuable player in the NBA.