OAKLAND, Calif. (Christian Examiner) – LeBron James had just helped deliver Cleveland its first major sports championship in more than 50 years Sunday night, but he didn't want to talk only about basketball.
He had a bigger picture in mind, and it included God.
"I gave everything that I had. I put my heart, my blood, my sweat and my tears into this game, and against all odds, .." James said on national TV afterwards, not finishing the sentence but clearly referencing the Cavaliers' historic comeback from a 3-1 deficit against the Golden State Warriors to win the NBA championship. No team had ever bounced back from a 3-1 margin to win the title.
"I don't know why we want to take the hardest road. I don't know why the Man above gives me the hardest road, but ... the Man above don't put you in situations that you can't handle. And I just kept that same positive attitude, like, instead of saying, 'Why me?,' just saying, 'This is what He wants me to do.'"
It was James' third NBA championship but his first one at Cleveland, where he returned to play after winning two titles with the Miami Heat. In the last three games against the Warriors, James delivered an NBA Finals performance for the ages, scoring 41 points in back-to-back games before adding 27 points in Sunday night's 93-89 victory, and was named Finals MVP.
James isn't as well-known for his faith as are other players such as Golden State's Steph Curry, but he has made several public comments in recent months that have caught the attention of the media.
In December when he was asked if his team would play better when two injured players returned, he surprised reporters by saying, "I hope we don't think that way. It's never that way. When you get your guys back, you prepare just as you prepare before. There's only one guy ever in the world that everything will be all right when He comes back and that's Jesus Christ. Other than that, you can't bank on nobody being OK."
The blog GodReports.com reported that in 2010 when another player, Rodney Stuckey, suffered a seizure, James called the players together and prayed to "our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" for healing, he told reporters.