With the USA recently winning Gold over Spain in London, LeBron James just completed one of–if not the best–seasons in NBA history.
A season in which an NBA Title, NBA MVP, NBA Finals MVP, and now his second gold medal, James’ 2011-2012 season can safely be put into a class of its own that only the great Michael Jordan’s 1992 season could compare in which he also won an NBA Title, NBA MVP, and a Gold Medal all in the same season.
After losing to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals last year after going up 2-1 and with the famous “not one not two.. speech” James came back with a chip on his shoulder and he played with it throughout the lockout shortened season which included 66 games instead of 82.
After losing to the Mavericks most players would take the off-season to rest and go at it again the next season but that’s the exact opposite of what James did.
During the off-season while most players were taking time off to rest and get away from basketball James got right back to work following the loss training with the great Hakeem Olajuwon on his post-game and improving his scoring in the paint.
After nine seasons James finally decided to use his 6-8, 250 pound frame to his advantage this season as he terrorized opponents including the NBA Finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder duo of Thabo Sefolosha and Serge Ibaka.
James finished the season averaging 27.1 PPG, 7.9 RBG, 6.2 APG, on his way to his third MVP and his second consecutive. During the regular season after an off-season of working and thinking James got back to the “fundamentals of basketball” that he felt he got away from in his first season with Miami Heat.
It showed as he was the clear cut best player in basketball and his team was the clear cut favorite as the Miami Heat got off to a hot start thanks to a “Oregon speed tempo offense” that head coach Erik Spoelstra installed that allowed James and Dwyane Wade the opportunity to get out into the open court more and amped up the defensive intensity at the same time.
James followed up his MVP regular season with an historical playoff run including bringing the Heat back in three straight series after being down a game.
Starting in the Eastern Conference 2nd Round with Chris Bosh out with an abdominal injury, it was James who had a historical Game 4 in which he recorded 40 points, 18 rebounds, and 9 assists while fueling teammate Wade to 30 points that changed the series after trailing 2-1.
Then in the Eastern Conference Finals with Miami’s season hanging on by a limb on the brink of elimination, James recorded 45 points and 15 rebounds in Game 6 took the series back to Miami where the Heat once again crawled out of hole.
Then after being ran off the court in Game 1 of the NBA Finals by the Oklahoma City Thunder it was James who had 32 points and 8 rebounds and provided the last defensive stop on reigning scoring champ Kevin Durant in what was an highly debated play.
James went on to average 30.3 PPG, 9.7 RPG, and 5.6 APG including 28.6 PPG, 10.2 RPG, and 7.4 APG in the NBA Finals which gave James the one thing missing off his resume: an NBA Title.
With all that said James did not stop there as he joined Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, etc. representing his country the USA in the 2012 Olympics looking to repeat as gold medal winners from their 2008 “Redeem Team” run.
With injuries holding superstars Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, and Dwight Howard out of play James still left off where he ended as he was the unquestioned leader of the team as he posted the first triple-double ever and hit big shot after big shot including the dagger three vs Spain in the Gold Medal Game in which he scored 18 points, dished out four assists and grabbed seven rebounds.
James became only the third player along with Carmelo Anthony and David Robinson to participate in three Olympic Games and with that received his second Gold Medal to cap off his historic season.
Going into the season James was under the most pressure of any athlete in professional sports, and faced the most questions of any athlete. Unlike some athletes who would crumble in the spotlight, James embraced it and added to his already historic legacy and officially put his name into the record books as not only one of the best seasons in basketball history, but also one of the best seasons in sports history.