LeBron James had his own Michael Jordan moment in a heartwarming postscript to the Lakers' record-tying 17th NBA championship.
James capped another remarkable title run with 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists as the Lakers matched the Boston Celtics' record haul of NBA championships, courtesy of a 106-93 rout of the Miami Heat in Game 6.
HISTORY MADE: LeBron's unprecedented feat in NBA Finals win
The 35-year-old was understandably full of emotion after the momentous victory, with a touching FaceTime call to his mum capturing the moment superbly.
Just like Jordan did after dedicating his 1996 NBA championship to his late father, James praised his mother in moving scenes after the match.
As his Lakers teammates celebrated winning the NBA championship, James lay on the floor outside the locker room with his smartphone in hand and his mother Gloria on the other end.
In a touching nod to everything she'd done for him, James paid tribute to his mother and said he hoped he'd made her proud.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 12, 2020
"Hey mumma, I had to leave the locker room, they’re going crazy in there right now. I had to get away," James said.
"I just got done on the phone with the wife and the kids and now I’m calling you.
"I love you, you're the reason that... you are the reason that I'm even able to do this mumma.
"You don’t understand, 16 years old and bringing this big ass head boy into the world. Everything that you had been through, everything that I've seen, there’s nothing that can stop me. I ain’t sh*t without you. What I go through is nothing compared to what you went through.
“God is good, God is great. I hope I continue to make you proud mum.”
James' path to a fourth career crown was anything but usual, with the 35-year-old discussing the unique challenges his side had to overcome in 2020.
"I can't sit here and say one is more challenging than the other or one is more difficult than the other," James said after capturing his fourth NBA title with a third team, and his fourth Finals MVP award.
"I can just say that I've never won with this atmosphere. None of us have. We've never been a part of this."
This championship series unfolded in the NBA's quarantine bubble in Orlando, Florida, where teams spent three months finishing out a season that had been brought to a halt in March by the coronavirus pandemic.
One of the ‘greatest accomplishments’ of James’ career
James said the isolation of the bubble made this title run a unique challenge.
"It played with your mind," he said. "It played with your body. You're away from some of the things that you're so accustomed to to make you be the professional that you are.
"So this is right up there," he said of where he ranks his first championship with the Los Angeles Lakers, after title runs with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013 and the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016.
"I heard some rumblings from people that are not in the bubble: 'Oh, you don't have to travel, whatever. People just doubting what goes on in here.
"This is right up there with one of the greatest accomplishments I've had."
James's four Finals MVPs are second only to the six of Michael Jordan.
He's the first player to win four Finals MVP awards with three different teams.
He posted a triple-double of 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists in the title-clinching 106-93 victory over the Miami Heat in game six.
It was his 11th Finals triple-double, and he came close to averaging a triple-double in the series with 29.8 points, 11.8 rebounds and 8.5 assists per game as he made good on the promise he made to Lakers president Jeanie Buss when he arrived in Los Angeles in 2018.
"We just want our respect," James said as the Lakers accepted the trophy on the confetti-strewn court. "(General manager Rob Pelinka) wants his respect. Coach (Frank) Vogel wants his respect. Our organisation wants their respect. Laker Nation wants their respect.
"And I want my damn respect, too," James said.
And he said respect was owing to the NBA, as well, for putting together the Orlando campus -- where there were zero positive COVID-19 tests among players -- and for facilitating player efforts to speak out on social and racial justice issues.
For most of his time in the bubble, James said, he tried to concentrate on his competitive task.
"I wanted to keep my energy in the right space," he said, but added: "Over the last couple days, you definitely thought about it. You thought about just being here, how successful it is.
"I think we can all say from the social injustice conversations, the voter suppression, police brutality, to have this platform, have our players be able to unite like that, it's something that you will miss."
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