So it all comes down to this, one series that will define a legacy, one series that will tell us whether or not it was all worth it for LeBron James.
Oh make no mistake about it, James will get a ring at some point, he and the Heat are too good not to eventually, but it's this chance that will define his legacy the most and it's win or bust time. Faced with a history of close calls and disappointments, James is more than ready to deliver on his potential and win his first ring.
"I think about winning all day, it happens all the time," James said. "You dream about it, hosting that trophy up, the title, seeing the confetti rain. You have to have that vision. If you don't have that vision, I don't know exactly what you're being a part of this postseason for. I have that vision all the time. Even when I'm awake or I'm sleeping."
The media backlash James received after committing to Miami was very heavy, very hurtful and as loathe as I am to admit it, perhaps a tad extreme. Much of that has been placed on the how he left as opposed to him just leaving but truth be told, Cavaliers fans would have been just as incised if he would have been upfront and forthcoming about his decision instead of making such a production of it.
"I understand a lot of the backlash that came with me going to Miami, but I understand also that I did what was best for me, what was best for my family and what was best for me being a professional athlete," James said. "I understand what this league is all about."
The league, and the legacy, is based on one thing, winning, and that's what drives every young star in the league and as the years go by, James feels the pressure of not doing it more and more.
"I've been in situations where I say why me at this point?" James said. "But you have to keep working and be put in those positions time after time after time where if you fail, you have to be ready to take that challenge again and again and again. I never lost confidence in my ability. I know what I'm capable of."
This years Finals is a rematch of the 2006 battle that saw the Mavericks implode and the Heat triumph but the real story, the real battle, is between LeBron James and the expectations of winning. Is this the year he finally is 'The Chosen One'? Is this the year he finally earns the name 'King'? Or is this just another year that he falls one step short of his ultimate dreams, only this time with a ton more criticism and hate on the horizon?
We will see, starting tonight.
Photo Courtesy of: ASSOCIATED PRESS