"It's about damn time," James said as he accepted his NBA Finals MVP trophy. "It's about damn time."
James has undergone nearly two full years of criticism since he decided to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Heat during the summer of 2010 free agency period. Asked if any of the criticism bothered him, James honed in on one point.
"That I was selfish," he said. "That was the only thing that bothered me. A lot of people said I was a selfish person or a selfish basketball player. I strive on being a team player, doing whatever it takes to help this team win. But at the same time, I used that as motivation. I was happy I was able to make enough plays to put ourselves in a position to win this championship."
The Heat lost the 2011 NBA Finals to the Dallas Mavericks, and James said throughout the playoffs that he was using that experience to remain focused this year.
"I went back to the basics," he said on Thursday. "I knew what got me to this point and it was hard work and dedication. I never had to prove anything to anyone in my first seven years, I just went out let the games take care of themselves. Last year I tried to prove something to everyone. I played with a lot of hate and that's not the way I play the game of basketball. I play it with a lot of love, a lot of passion. That's what I got back to this year."
James celebrated Miami's Game 5 victory by jumping up and down on the sideline, hugging and high-fiving his teammates and embracing teammate Dwyane Wade.
"This is probably the happiest day of my life," he said. "Happiest day of my life. I wouldn't want to spend it with nobody else in the world besides my teammates, these fans, oh my God, you guys are unbelievable. This is a dream come true."