Russell Westbrook intentionally fouled Mario Chalmers during Game 4 of the 2012 NBA Finals when he shouldn’t have and gave LeBron James his first title.
LeBron James was undoubtedly the most dominant force in the NBA once Shaquille O’Neal was officially out of his prime. For the first 9 years of James’s career, he was selected to countless All-Star and All-NBA teams and even managed to snag three MVPs along the way. The one thing he didn’t have, was the oh-so lucrative NBA championship ring.
The Miami Heat’s embarrassing 2011 NBA Finals series saw the public’s perception of LeBron James shift from being someone who just needed a bit more help to win it all to a man who simply was not a winner. 2012 would prove this narrative wrong as James and the Heat came back with a vengeance.
En route to ‘The King’s’ first ever NBA title, he would come face-to-face with an extremely talented, yet inexperienced OKC Thunder team that featured Kevin Durant Russell Westbrook, and James Harden all in their early 20s.
Russell Westbrook’s late game flub in Game 4 led to LeBron James eventually earning his first ring.
Game 1 saw the Thunder actually steal a game away from the Miami Heat with a double digit victory. The Heat would bounce back however, winning two straight games one their home floor and away. Up 2-1, looking to take a decisive 3-1 lead, the Heat had the ball up 5 with 17 seconds left in Games 4.
Mario Chalmers got the ball on the left wing and was immediately fouled by Russell Westbrook. Most late game situations see the defending team foul an opposing player. This time however, Russ was simply not aware of the fact that the shot clock was merely 5 seconds away from expiring.
This led to Chalmers getting to the free throw line to widen gap between the Heat and the Thunder, eventually resulting in a Game 4 victory for Miami.
LeBron James and company would blow OKC out in Game 5 en route to James first ever NBA championship and some may say that foul by Westbrook was what sealed the deal for the Heat.