Pat Riley has a theory why LeBron James' journey to basketball's mountaintop took so long.
Growth, he said, takes time.
''I always use the analogy of the Chinese bamboo tree,'' said the Miami Heat president. ''You plant the seed in the ground and it just sits there and 10 years later it grows 100 feet in one year. Over the 10 years, there's a root structure and a taproot that is growing deeper and deeper and deeper and is embedded in the ground. And when that thing starts growing, it ain't going anywhere but up.''
That is, much like James did in 2012.
It was practically a year beyond compare. James got his first NBA championship, was the league's MVP for the third time, a unanimous choice as MVP of the NBA Finals, and collected a second Olympic gold medal. And in perhaps the last marquee moment of his year, James and the Heat play host to Oklahoma City on Tuesday, a Finals rematch on Christmas.
James be center stage with the Heat-Thunder showdown part of the NBA's Christmas sla...