King James in tears as he dethrones Warriors
LEBRON James may be the self-proclaimed "king" but after delivering an NBA title to long-suffering Cleveland on Sunday, the best player of his generation will forever be considered royalty by Cavaliers fans.
In what may ultimately prove to be the greatest achievement of an already storied career, he led Cleveland back from the brink of defeat to the greatest comeback in NBA Finals history.
For James, who returned to Cleveland in 2014 after spending the previous four years with the Miami Heat, the win gave him his third NBA championship and fulfilled a promise to deliver a title to his home state of Ohio.
To win the against-all-odds championship, he had to steer the Cavaliers back from a 3-1 Finals deficit.
In each of the 32 prior instances, the team facing such a deficit had lost the Finals and only two forced a Game 7.
"I don't know why the man above give me the hardest road but... the man above don't put you in situations that you can't handle," said James.
"I just kept that same positive attitude. Instead of saying why me, I said this is what He wants me to do. And, uh, Cleveland - this is for you!"
When the final buzzer sounded in Oakland, it kicked off a wave of celebrations in Cleveland, where countless supporters were sporting James' No. 23 jersey.
It was a far cry from 2010 when he spurned his home state for Miami in an ill-advised television special that skewed his public image and saw Cavaliers fans burn his replica jerseys in the Cleveland streets.
Winning a title for his hometown team proved an emotional moment for James. He dropped to the floor at the final buzzer and cried as he cradled the glittering Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy.
"What's going through my mind is I'm ready to get back to Cleveland. I can't wait to get off that plane and hold that trophy up and see all our fans at the terminal," he said.
"And I know they're going to be ready. So I can't wait to give the emotion back to them. I'm looking forward to it."
He was voted the unanimous winner of the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award after averaging 29.7 points per game, 11.3 rebounds and 8.9 assists in the Finals. It marked his third Finals MVP award as he also took the award in 2012 and 2013 with Miami.