10:52 PM ET
“Let’s speak the truth.”
This is how LeBron James started trying to figure out a way to get another title. It was June 2018, and his Cleveland Cavaliers were down 3-0 to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, about to be wiped out by them for the second consecutive year.
Accepting that truth and then dealing with it led James down a path that ended Sunday, with him holding another Larry O’Brien Trophy and another Bill Russell Trophy for Finals MVP — two beautiful pieces of gold he wasn’t sure he’d touch again.
Here was the truth: “Kevin Durant. You’ve got two guys with MVPs on their team,” James said that summer day in Cleveland, referring also to Durant’s Warriors teammate Stephen Curry. “It’s like playing the [New England] Patriots.”
That day, James gave a lesson on where he was in his basketball life. He talked about how he had to have teammates who could think the game as well as play it. He name-checked one player twice: Rajon Rondo.
“Not only do you have to have the talent,” James said, “you have to have the minds as well.”