LeBron gets his championship, at long last

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That’s why James made a slew of changes after the 2011 finals.

He worked out harder. He said he was getting rid of the anger that he played with last season, something he did in an effort to prove people wrong. This year, he said he played with joy again _ and figured out that the best way to win wasn’t to prove detractors wrong, but to pro”

“He’s made some changes, obviously, to his game and more importantly, to his approach, how he views it and how he prepares for a game,” Heat forward Juwan Howard said. “I commend him for some of the decisions that he made, looking at himself in the mirror and saying `I want to make some changes.’ A lot of players won’t do that. Obviously, it shows he’s very bright and that he’s humble. He wants to get better.”

But first, he had to address not being happy.

His family _ then-girlfriend, now-fiancee Savannah Brinson, and the couple’s two sons _ spent long stretches of last season in Ohio. James confided to those in his close circle last year that at times he felt isolated. When Brinson and their kids moved to Miami full-time, things changed in a hurry. James asked Brinson to marry him. The nuptials are next summer.

Why then? Well, this summer will be a little busy, for starters. There’s the Olympics. Another close friend’s wedding. Some off-court business responsibilities. Training camp will be here soon enough. Oh, and first, a parade to celebrate the world champions.

“Life is the best experience you can get,” Mims said. “That’s what’s basically happened with him that whole year, from leaving Cleveland to coming here to being here basically alone for that year. And then you see things change. His family came here. He got engaged. He learned more about the team, became more of a leader.”

James‘ free-agent courtship officially lasted about a week, The Decision went on for an hour, and the words that changed so many aspects of James‘ life that night took only four seconds to say that night.

“I’m going to take my talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat,” James said, that unforgettable phrase.

He’ll forever be linked to what he said in that infamous welcome party-turned-rock concert _ which despite countless insistence to the contrary was arranged not for him, but for Wade and with the goal of topping how the organization celebrated Shaquille O’Neal’s arrival in 2004. And the most-replayed moment from that night was when James started peeling off how many championships he would hope to win in Miami.

“Not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven,” James said that night, as Wade and Bosh nodded in the seats next to him.

No, he doesn’t have any of those yet.

However, at long last, he does have one.

___

Follow Tim Reynolds on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ByTimReynolds

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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