As LeBron gets ready to take on the Warriors in Game 6 of the 2017 NBA Finals, we are going back exactly six years ago today to Game 6 of the 2011 NBA Finals. It’s a day LeBron probably doesn’t care to remember because it’s the day his heavily-favored Miami Heat lost a championship to Dirk and the Dallas Mavs. It’s a day that had many critics calling LeBron’s performance in the series one of the biggest playoffs collapses by a superstar ever. It’s a day that a lot of other critics thought was a good thing for LeBron, who started the controversial season with the infamous “not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six” championship talk.
One of his harshest critics was Charles Barkley, who ripped LeBron after Game 6.
“You think it’s that easy huh? Look where your ass at right now. You at the bottom of the barrel again just like everybody else.”
Barkley went on to blame the media for telling LeBron he was Michael Jordan instead of a Magic Johnson or Scottie Pippen.
“He’s not a natural born killer.”
After the loss, LeBron addressed the “haters” with a comment that also rubbed a lot of other people the wrong way.
“All the people that was rooting on me to fail, at the end of the day they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today,” James said. “They have the same personal problems they had today. I’m going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things that I want to do with me and my family and be happy with that. They can get a few days or a few months or whatever the case may be on being happy about not only myself, but the Miami Heat not accomplishing their goal, but they have to get back to the real world at some point.”
As you know, LeBron would win the next two championships with the Heat and is currently on his sixth consecutive trip to the NBA Finals. And he can thank the pain he suffered six years ago today for that.
“It brings back memories for sure,” James said in 2015 after a game with the Mavs. “Memories that I try to forget, that I will probably never be able to forget. But it’s built me into who I am today.”
LEBRON’S STATS IN THE 2011 FINALS
- GM1 (W): 24 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists (9-16 fg)
- GM2 (L): 20 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists (8-15 fg)
- GM3 (W): 17 points, 3 rebounds, 9 assists (6-14 fg)
- GM4 (L): 8 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists (3-11 fg)
- GM5 (L): 17 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists (8-19 fg)
- GM6 (L): 21 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists (9-15 fg)
— LeBron James (@KingJames) January 11, 2014
On a side-note, happy anniversary to Dirk, Jason Kidd and the Dallas Mavericks.