Every once in a while it happens. Seemingly out of nowhere a truly great player will go to a level we've yet to see, and it creates a signature moment for that player to be remembered by for years to come.
For LeBron James, that moment came on May 31, 2007 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Detroit Pistons. In just his second postseason, at the age of 22, James announced himself to the league with one of the most jaw-dropping performances in NBA playoff history.
This is when LeBron became LEBRON. In a 109-107 double-overtime win for the Cavaliers, James scored 29 of Cleveland's final 30 points, including the team's last 25 points on 11-of-13 shooting from the field. He forced overtime on a dunk with nine seconds remaining and then finished the game off in double-overtime with a driving layup with two seconds left. LeBron finished with 48 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in 50 minutes.
Now, 10 years later, former Pistons great Rip Hamilton remembers LeBron's unbelievable performance (watch his full response in the video above):
"We thought we were the best defensive team in the NBA," Hamilton said. "I can remember when we played against LeBron James his rookie year, me and Tayshaun [Prince] said to ourselves, 'When LeBron James figures it out, we're going to be in trouble.'
"So when LeBron James scored those 25 straight points, it kind of reminded me of Micahel Jordan in 1991, with him going against the Pistons all those years, and the year he got over the hump and beat them was similar to when LeBron scored the 25 straight points and beat us. We felt like we were in trouble -- for not just that year, but years to come."
Hamilton said the team didn't realize that James had scored that many points in a row until after the game in the locker room.
"We knew that he scored a lot, when you say a lot we thought in the back of our minds he scored like 10 straight points. We didn't think 25 straight points. We didn't think at that time, during the game, 'Let's just take the ball out of his hands. Let's make somebody else score.' We felt as though we were so good at that time, we said 'There's no way -- impossible -- that one individual can beat us. Kobe Bryant and Shaq couldn't do it -- we didn't feel that LeBron could do it either.
"We were so disappointed that we let a home game slip away, and we thought that we were the better team. That kind of dismantled our whole chance of going and trying to win a championship that year."
The Cavs would go on to win Game 6 to earn LeBron his first trip to the NBA Finals. As we know now, it would not be his last.