KEY POINTS

  • James did not want Riley to break up Heat Big Three
  • James elevated game in 2012
  • James looking to add more NBA rings

LeBron James has grown by leaps and bounds and will undoubtedly be one of the NBA's future Hall of Famers. But the journey to where the King is right now was not easy. Early in his career, he was criticized for disappearing in the clutch. That included a performance during the 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Finals when he was still part of the Miami Heat.

The Heat were down 3-2 against the Boston Celtics and James took part in the blame. With the Heat's back against the wall, a lot of things went through the top pick of the 2003 NBA Draft. That included the possibility of team president Pat Riley possibly breaking his Big Three. Aside from him, there was long-time Heat guard Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. He knew he had to do something and did.

James poured in a game-high 45 points, 15 rebounds and five assists in game 6 to help the Heat beat the Boston Celtics. The three-time NBA champion recalled how he was able to motivate himself at the time, part of which was fear that Riley his team-up with Wade and Bosh. He shared this via Instagram Live.

"My mentality was, if we lose, Pat Riley may break us all up. And I didn’t want that. It might be the quickest breakup in basketball history. And not only might they break it all up, my legacy is going to take a huge, huge hit if I don’t go out here and perform at an all-time high. Win, lose or draw, I had to be focused. I had to lock in and lead us to victory. Didn’t know if it was going to happen that way, but that was my mindset," James said.

That performance sparked the Heat and Miami eventually won the series to advance to the NBA Finals. James had another big game in the finale with 31 points and 12 rebounds. The Heat would go on to win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Finals, 4-1 and bag their second Larry O'Brien Trophy.

From there, James had a dramatic twist in his NBA career and became the player most would love to hold the ball in crucial stretches, NBC Sports reported. So far, he has three NBA rings to show although he could add more to that with the Los Angeles Lakers moving forward.

LeBron James and Dwayne Wade All-Star guard Dwayne Wade signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers and gets to play with his friend and former teammate LeBron James once more. They are pictured on June 21, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida Photo: Getty Images