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NBA Finals: Miami Heat's LeBron James Says Losing Last Year Was Best Thing To Happen

Last year, the Miami Heat could not complete the task in front of them of beating the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals. He also endured more than his share of criticism for the Mavs walking away with the NBA title. Yet as LeBron looked back after this year's Finals as the NBA champs for the first time, he says he realized that the best thing to happen to him was to lose that first time around with his team.

James said after the Heat defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games that the ensuing perspective change and humility after losing last year brought the internal change he needed.

"People would say I was selfish, and that got to me," James said. "That got to me a lot because I know that this is a team game. I know the coaches that I had when I was younger always preached about team. ... All last year I tried to prove people wrong, prove you guys wrong, and it wasn't me. At the end of the day, I was basically fighting against myself. The best thing that happened to me last year was us losing the Finals, and me playing the way I played. ... It humbled me."

LeBron is now settled and playing better than ever. The OKC Thunder look like future champions, but as long as LeBron is playing for the Heat, they will always have a strong team to contend with from the Eastern side of things.

For more on the 2012 NBA Finals, check out SB Nation's NBA page. For Thunder news, go toWelcome To Loud City, and for Miami Heat coverage, check out Peninsula Is Mightier.