James was a young man going up against one of the best players in the league in the Finals.
And in the end it was Dirk Nowitzki and his Mavs who ended up winning it all in the 2011 Finals.
It left a bad taste in James’ mouth, inspired him to be better, and also led to one of the best and most controversial quotes in NBA history.
Following his loss to Dallas in the Finals, James spoke his mind and addressed his haters:
“All the people that were rooting on me to fail, at the end of the day, they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life they had before they woke up today.”
James went on to add:
“They can get a few days or a few months or whatever the case may be on being happy about not only myself, but the Miami Heat, not accomplishing their goal. But they have to get back to the real world at some point.”
James was obviously fired up – and just a a year away from his first Finals victory.
Young King In The Making
It’s crazy to remember a time when James didn’t have multiple championship rings.
But the young man we saw in 2011 was hungry for his first Finals triumph and was testy about those speaking out against him.
James converted his anger into drive and, just a season later, was able to lead his Heat to the Finals again, this time taking down the Oklahoma City Thunder in a 4-1 series.
Then he would be back and back…and back and back and back and back and back again.