The perceived notion of LeBron James being a selfish, cocky and brash NBA baller was washed away last night as he and his Miami Heat squad ousted the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2012 NBA Finals. The win turned “King James” into “Ring James," as he captured his very first title.
A stat line-up that has Hall of Fame written all over it, James was named Finals MVP, scoring 26 points to go along with 13 assists and 11 rebounds, finishing with a triple-double in the biggest game of his career.
Stats and figures aside, the maturity level of Ring James rang throughout the year. He spoke to reporters after last night’s win and addressed all his detractors and haters:
"I'm happy now that eight years later, nine years later since I've been drafted, that I can finally say that I'm a champion…You know, I put a lot of hard work and dedication in it, and hard work pays off. It's a great moment…And as a person I grew on and off the court."
And that’s the aspect of the LeBron James saga that has captivated the media: his maturity over the last couple of years since his big “Decision” to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Not just talking about coming into his own, but truly proving it through his actions - that's what’s making the LeBron haters silent this morning.
Many forget that it was LeBron who organized, tweeted and Facebooked a picture of the entire Miami Heat squad putting their hoodies up for Trayvon Martin in late March.
Trayvon was a Miami native and listed LeBron and Dwyane Wade as his favorite athletes on his Facebook page.
When LeBron tweeted the pic of his teammates with their hoodies up, it sparked every celebrity across Twitter to do the same.
LeBron could have been the typical athlete, donated money to the cause and left it at that. But leading with his actions proved that it wasn’t about sports, but something much bigger than him and basketball.
A father of two young boys of his own, LeBron knew how it important it was not to stay silent in the wake of the Trayvon killing, but how vital it was to show his support for the movement.
LeBron’s story is almost Shakespearean: the high school kid who leaped into the NBA, once adored by everyone and deemed the second coming, then quickly hated by the decisions made. Now he is basking in the joy of redemption, while at the same time silencing all his critics.
Congrats to the Miami Heat. I'm sure if Trayvon was still with us, he would have been the first online to cop his Miami Heat championship gear, shirt, hats - and hoodies - included.
Shaka Griffith is the News/Politics Editor of GlobalGrind.com Follow him on Twitter @Darealshaka