When LeBron James reflects back on the Cleveland Cavaliers’ first NBA title in 2016, he says that accomplishment allowed him to think of himself as the best player in the game.
“That one right there made me the greatest player of all time,” James said in Episode 7 of the eight-part ESPN+ series More Than An Athlete.
The Cavaliers, after falling behind three games to one to Golden State in the 2016 Finals, rallied to win the last three games — including two on the road, capped by a 93-89 win in Game 7. James scored 27 points and had 11 rebounds and 11 assists that night, and he was the unanimous MVP in the series, his third Finals MVP honor.
“That’s what I felt,” he told friends and business partners Maverick Carter, Randy Mims and Rich Paul during the episode that began streaming on ESPN+ Sunday night. “I was super, super ecstatic to win one for Cleveland because of the 52-year drought. … The first wave of emotion was when everyone saw me crying, like, that was all for 52 years of everything in sports that’s gone on in Cleveland. And then after I stopped, I was like — that one right there made you the greatest player of all time.
“Everybody was just talking — how [the Warriors] were the greatest team of all time, like it was the greatest team ever assembled,” he said. “And for us to come back, you know, the way we came back in that fashion, I was like, ‘You did, you did something special.’ That’s probably one of the only times in my career I felt like, oh, s—, like you did something special. I haven’t had, really had time, to really, like, sit back and think, but that … that was a moment.”