Heat Win NBA Title, Save the Republic

LeBron James and the Miami Heat made it rain on the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 5 of the NBA finals to clinch the 2012 championship. Our long national nightmare is over: King James has a ring.

Okay, that’s mostly a joke. But as a LeBron apologist, I’ll offer that it’s good to see him get a ring and semi-cement his legacy — as one of the best basketball players of all time. It’s also nice to see some of the other Heat players get a ring — Shane Battier is one of basketball’s hardest workers and smartest players, and Dwyane Wade’s brilliance can’t be overstated.

This title, however, is going to be spun as a victory for LeBron James. No one has ever denied his talent, but his off-court decisions and on-court demeanor have grated on some NBA fans for a long time. Exacerbated by “The Decision” wherein announced his move to Miami, James has long had his haters.

It seemed inevitable that he’d get a ring eventually. This one was nine years coming and well-deserved. James carried his team through the playoffs when Dwyane Wade, long considered the “clutch performer” on the Heat, just couldn’t get it going.

James won the Finals MVP award, boasting per-game averages of 28.6 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 7.4 assists in the championship round. It was vintage LeBron: He didn’t have a game that stood out as singularly dominant but did almost everything on the court from beginning to end for his team.

Condolences to the Thunder, who are an exciting young team who made an incredible run this year. Their stars are likable and the team has a bright future in the league — and another shot at a long playoff run next year. (Though as I wrote before, let’s cool it on the dynasty talk.) This was Miami’s year, but both teams have earned a well-deserved vacation.

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