LeBron James took a swipe at his critics and detractors of the LA Lakers after winning a fourth NBA championship and helping the franchise to a record-equaling 17th title overall.
James led the way against the Miami Heat on Sunday night, recording a triple double with 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists as the Lakers won the game 106-93 to seal a 4-2 series victory inside the NBA ‘bubble’ at Walt Disney World in Florida.
The 35-year-old star was named Finals MVP for the fourth time and won the title with a third different team after championships with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013 and the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016.
He promised. He delivered. Your NBA Finals MVP: @KingJamespic.twitter.com/QbVJ6o3jGq
For the Lakers, it was a first NBA crown in a decade as they finally moved on to a 17th title overall to put them level with the Boston Celtics on the all-time list.
James has achieved the feat in his second season with the team, having suffered the disappointment of failing to even reach the playoffs in his first season in LA.
That initial failure greased the wheels of a narrative which speculated that the Lakers had wasted their efforts in attempting to build the team around an over-the-hill star.
James appeared to vent at that suggestion in his post-game interview on Sunday night.
“I want my damn respect too.”–LeBron James 👑 pic.twitter.com/yswlex0U8M
“We just want our respect. Rob [Pelinka] wants his respect. Coach [Frank] Vogel wants his respect. Our organization wants their respect. Laker Nation wants their respect. And I want my damn respect, too,” James declared.
Earlier in the playoffs, James had fumed about being snubbed for the NBA MVP award in favor of Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo which he also appeared to take as a mark of disrespect.
On Sunday, the Lakers won their first championship since Kobe Bryant led them to glory in 2010, which many saw as an apt tribute after Bryant died alongside his daughter Gianna in a helicopter crash in January.
“To Lakers nation, we have been through a heartbreaking tragedy with the loss of our beloved Kobe Bryant and Gianna,” said Lakers owner Jeanie Buss.
“Let this trophy serve as a reminder of when we come together, believe in each other, incredible things can happen.”
James became the first player in NBA history to be named Finals MVP with three different teams, and moved closer to Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan’s all-time overall Finals MVP tally of six.
Laker Nation, LeBron James made good on his guarantee that he would take the @Lakers to the NBA Finals and bring a championship to Lakers fans all around the world. Mission accomplished @KingJames!!