LeBron James collected 27 points, 11 rebounds and as many assists to overcome the odds and win a first title for the Cleveland Cavaliers against the Golden State Warriors. "King James" has won three NBA titles.
The Cleveland Cavaliers became the first side in NBA Finals history to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the seven-game series, as they overcame the Golden State Warriors 93-89 in Game 7 to become NBA champions.
The side, which features star player LeBron James, made further history by breaking a curse that had seen the city go without a major title since the Cleveland Browns won the National Football Championship in 1964. It was the Cavaliers' first ever NBA championship.
"Knowing what our city has been through the last 50 years in sports, our fans do or die with us," he added. "They support us, and to be able to end this drought, our fans deserve this. It's for them."
The recently acquired title is the third of James' career, having previously won it twice with the Miami Heat in back-to-back years in 2012 and 2013.
"I knew what we were capable of, even being down 3-1 versus the greatest regular-season team ever," said James, who also won the NBA Finals MVP award for the third time. "Everybody counted us out and that's when we strived, that's when I got off."
Point guard Kyrie Irving and shooting center Kevin Love were among key contributors to the Cavs' charge alongside James.
"Once we got to a Game 7, I knew what I was doing. My guys believe in me as their leader and I was true to that. I'm happy to be a part of history," James said. "I knew what I was capable of doing, I came back to bring a championship to our city. I knew I had the right ingredients and blueprint to get us to a place where we've never been."
Regular season MVP to Warriors' Curry
The Golden State Warriors had come into this year's Playoffs as favorites to win the title, having registered the most successful regular season in NBA history.
"We're stunned. We thought we were going to win," Warriors' head coach Steve Kerr, once a Cav in his playing days, said. "I was extremely confident. We had a phenomenal season. We did something that's never been done before. Couldn't finish it off."
Star guard Stephen Curry featured heavily in the Warriors' 73 regular season wins and only nine defeats, averaging 30.1 points per game and sinking a record 402 long-range 3-pointers.
"It hurts," Curry, who claimed the regular season MVP award, said afterwards. "It wasn't easy what we accomplished and it's not an easy pill to swallow what we didn't accomplish. I had some good moments, but didn't do enough to help my team win, especially down the stretch. It will haunt me for a while."
Golden State claimed last year's championship at the Cavaliers' expense, but LeBron James' Game 7 triple-double (27 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists) secured revenge for Cleveland in Oakland on Sunday.
sb/msh (dpa, AP)