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LeBron James admits 2011 Finals loss vs. Dallas Mavericks was the toughest one in his career

LeBron shared what the catastrophic 2011 Finals loss taught him, and how it impacted the way James approached his game.
Miami Heat small forward LeBron James on the floor vs. Dallas Mavericks

LeBron James

LeBron James revealed the toughest loss in his career that inspired him to get better and become the LeBron James we know today.

2011 Finals loss

They say every setback is an opportunity to get better. James considers the 2011 NBA Finals loss against the Dallas Mavericks as the toughest loss in his career. Not the sweep he endured against the San Antonio Spurs or the losses against the Golden State Warriors but the one against Dirk Nowitzki. He revealed how that moment changed everything for him in a Q & A he had on Twitter. Username @Tanner_Castora asked about The King’s toughest moment and how he got through it.

“Losing in the finals to Dallas after playing like 💩💩!! I hit the reset button, went back to the basics, worked on things in my game I needed to get better at so the defense couldn’t just sit on 1 thing. Hours & hours & hours everyday in the off season on it. Came back 🔒 in! 🤷🏾‍♂️”

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Miami Heat met the Mavs in the 2011 Finals. Most fans and analysts expected the Heat to win that series because of their star power led by James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, but Dirk had other things in mind. Dallas played as a unit, and other players stepped up. It was one of the Mavericks’ most memorable postseason runs because they won their first and only championship to date. That team also faced Kobe Bryant and the L.A. Lakers, and the OKC Thunder led by Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook on their way to the Finals.

Without that bitter loss, James probably wouldn’t go back to the lab to work his ass off and improve. And that motivated him to conquer the odds and try to win the championship once again.

2012 LeBron James finally won

In 2012, James redeemed himself and won his first title after the Heat beat the Oklahoma City Thunder led by KD, Harden, and Brodie. If not for the spanking that LeBron received from the Mavs, it could have been a different story for Miami in 2012.

Losing is part of a player’s journey. The hardships make the championship sweeter. James’s disappointment when he lost to the underdog Dallas team switched something in him that fueled his consecutive finals appearances. That’s what young players today need to understand: each loss is a teaching moment. So it’s now up to them how to use that setback for a bigger comeback. 

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