LeBron James won his first two NBA titles during his time with the Miami Heat in the early 2010s alongside Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Prior to Monday's matchup in Miami between the Heat and James' Los Angeles Lakers, the four-time champion took some time to reflect on his time with the Heat.
James enjoyed his time playing in South Beach, but believes that he'd still be the same player even if he never put on a Heat uniform.
"I think I would still be at this level no matter if I would've came here or not," James said during Monday's shootaround. "Let's not get it twisted: The four years I was here, it was amazing. I loved everything about it. Loved this franchise, this franchise is top tier, it's one of the best franchises in the world.
"But as far as my career, my career was going to be my career as far as individually, because I know how much I put into the game and I know how much I strived to be as great as I can be," James said. "[But] as far as what I was able to learn here was second to none, that's for sure."
James took his talents to South Beach back in 2010 in search of his first NBA championship after coming up short in his initial tenure with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He'd reach the NBA Finals alongside Wade and Bosh in each of his four seasons, winning in 2012 and 2013.
"I came here for one reason and one reason only, and that was to win championships," James said. "That was my only goal. That was the only reason I teamed up with [Dwyane] Wade and [Chris] Bosh. Because I felt like I couldn't do it in Cleveland. We couldn't. ... I tried to recruit guys to come to Cleveland. I tried to go and help the upstairs and it wasn't happening. So I had an opportunity to be a free agent so I did what I thought was best, not only for my career but for me at that point in time."
James left the Heat in 2014 in order to sign with his hometown Cavaliers, where he began his NBA career. He spent the ensuing four seasons in Cleveland before signing with the Lakers in 2018.