"I thought it would be easy because I was teaming with some real players," said James during Friday's "The Shop" on HBO. "You go down there, we lose that Finals, I felt like the world had caved in. First of all, I was wearing a hat that I wasn't accustomed to, and I bought into it because, at that point in time in my life, I was still caring about what other people thought. But that moment shaped me for who I am today.
"I'm not happy that I lost, but I left that Finals like, 'Yo 'Bron, what the f--- was you on, man. You were overthinking everything, you didn't show up, you didn't do what you were supposed to do, and now you can't even sleep at night because you didn't give it all that you had.'"
It was evident in his numbers and on-court demeanor that James was his own worst enemy in that series. He spent the summer hyping up the number of championships the new-look Heat could potentially win, and when the opportunity presented itself to capture the title, James froze on the big stage.
He averaged 17.8 points on 15 shots and converted 32.1 percent from 3-point range while adding 7.2 rebounds, 6.8 assists, and four turnovers in 43.6 minutes. James was ripped to shreds by the media for not being aggressive, constantly deferring to his All-Star teammates, and putting up paltry offensive numbers when he was capable of so much more.
"After that Finals, I was just like, 'That's never happening again. I may lose again, I may not win everything, but I'll never fail again,'" added James, who capped off his rant by saying overcoming that defeat was his "greatest achievement" after being asked if it was his greatest failure.
James and Miami bounced back by winning the next two championships. He then returned home to rejoin the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014, hoisting the Larry O'Brien trophy once again in 2016.