‘The moment LeBron James took it personally’: When Lakers star used Michael Jordan’s motivation technique to destroy Warriors

Raahib Singh
|Published 22/10/2020

The resurgence of an old LeBron James interview from the 2016 Finals reveals what might have changed the course of the series.

The year is 2016. The date is 10th June. Everything is going right for a Warriors fan. Their team is up 3-1 against LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. They are one win away from sealing a back to back championship. What would make this championship even sweeter is that they just finished a 73-9 season.

The Warriors had just cemented their place in the history books by recording the highest wins in a season. Stephen Curry was awarded as the unanimous MVP of the league, making him a back-to-back MVP.

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While everything seems wonderful for a Warriors fan, something happened on 10th June that would forever change the course of how the season came to be remembered.

‘The moment LeBron James took it personally’: What instigated the Finals comeback?

A lot of reasons have been named for the miraculous comeback by the Cavs. A new reason altogether has surfaced in the form of an old interview. In the interview, it is seen that the reporter says that Klay Thompson says, “he got his feelings hurt:” to which LeBron responds with a laugh.

After the ‘Last Dance’ aired, it seemed pretty clear to viewers that Michael Jordan used small matchups/statements/digs to motivate himself whenever he was cornered. He always used to come out with the statement, ‘And I took that personally’; and that was that.

Similarly, this was LeBron’s, ‘I took it personally’ moment; as it helped him script one of the greatest NBA comebacks of all time.

While this may not seem anything major, the numbers clearly say otherwise. Before the said interview, LeBron James was averaging 24.7 points per game in the Finals.

After the same, his average went up by nearly 10ppg, as he averaged 33 points per game for the last 3 contests. He scored straight 41 points in Game 5 and 6. For Game 7, he had a 27 point triple-double and a game-winning chase-down block on Andre Iguodala.

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While this is a series that every Warriors fan would like to forget, this has it’s historic importance too. LeBron James’ Cavs became the first-ever NBA team to emerge victorious after a 3-1 deficit in the Finals. They also became the 4th ever team to come back from 0-2 in the Finals.


About the author
Raahib Singh

Raahib Singh

Raahib Singh is an NBA Editor at The SportsRush. A Computer Science Engineer by qualification, Raahib's passion for sports drew him toward TSR. He started playing basketball when he was 14, and fell in love with the sport ever since. His interest in the NBA developed at the same time as when Stephen Curry put the entire league on notice. Raahib was spellbound by Steph and the Warriors and has been a fan since. From starting off as a Warriors fan, Raahib has evolved into someone who can never miss a good game of basketball. He converts his love for the game and the knowledge he has gained into the articles he writes. In his spare time, he enjoys cricket, going for walks, and murder mysteries.

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