Jimmy Butler is well aware of who stands in the way of his first NBA title.
"It's been like this for a very long time. If you want to win, you're going to have to go through a LeBron James-led team," the Miami Heat forward said after advancing to his first career NBA Finals Sunday, courtesy of The Washington Post's Ben Golliver. "At the end of the day, that's what it normally comes down to, and that's what we got to focus in on.
"Obviously, can't just focus in on him because he's got so many really good players around him. But you're going to get the same test over and over again until you pass it, and that test is LeBron James."
James has nearly established a monopoly over The Finals throughout the last decade - the 35-year-old has appeared in all but one as an individual since 2011, only missing out last season. The Lakers failed to make the postseason when a groin injury sidelined King James for a month.
James won the title three times in that span. He secured back-to-back championships with the Heat in 2012-13 before he returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers and helped the franchise claim its only Larry O'Brien Trophy in 2016.
This year's Miami squad is the first fifth seed to reach the championship series. Butler believes the Heat have the tools to pull off the upset despite the Lakers topping the Western Conference during the regular season.
"We realize what we have to do moving forward, so we have to be damn near perfect to beat the Lakers," Butler said, according to Golliver. "We're capable of it. We're not worried about no five seed or no one seed. We're going to worry about us and be the best Miami Heat team that we can be."
The Heat eliminated the Boston Celtics from the Eastern Conference finals Sunday to book their first NBA Finals trip since 2014. The Lakers punched their ticket a day earlier by dispatching a tenacious Denver Nuggets side in five games.
Game 1 of The Finals tips off Wednesday.