Legacies are generally determined after the fact, written by others, imposed on the subjects without their input. For the last three years, LeBron James has endured daily revisions to his legacy, a chorus of critics framing his career based on a single game, a single series, the shots that swished and those that missed, never waiting for a fuller picture to emerge.
James at last seized control of his own narrative Thursday night, leaving nothing to chance and no more room for debate.
He drove hard, shot brilliantly, scored every critical basket and finally pushed the Miami Heat past the San Antonio Spurs for a 95-88 victory in Game 7 of the NBA finals.
As red and white confetti rained from the rafters at American Airlines Arena, James - oft vilified, perpetually scrutinized - soaked in the revelry and embraced a new identity: back-to-back champion.
There were still doubters out there, somewhere, beyond the clouds of fluttering paper, but their ranks are surely shrinking.
“I can’t worry about what everybody says about me,” a joyful James said on the championship podium after receiving his second straight finals Most Valuable Player trophy. “I’m LeBron James, from Akron, Ohio, from the inner city. I'm not even supposed to be here.”
Fruits of hardwork
James came here three summers ago in pursuit of championship glory, to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in a superstar lineup for the ages, to start collecting championships - "Not one, not two, not three ... " he infamously declared in July 2010.
The banners are indeed starting to accumulate, with James earning this title despite diminishing returns from his co-stars.
The Heat, despite a scoreless game from Bosh, joined the Los Angeles Lakers as the only teams with back-to-back titles in the post-Michael Jordan era. New York Times