Many who have covered LeBron James since his high school days can all agree that Game 6 against the Celtics was the most dominant game, from start to finish, that LeBron James has ever had, finishing with 45 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 assists. Right from the opening tip, you could tell LeBron had a chip on his shoulder. He looked angry, he wasn't smiling or cracking jokes in the pre-game warmups like we often see him do. He meant business, telling everyone in Boston, 'hide yo kids, hide yo wife, cause I'm bringing all of my talents for this game'.
Not only was this performance dominant, but it changed the entire NBA for years to come. A few years ago, and some idiots still say this, "LeBron isn't clutch, LeBron is a choker, he can't win, LeBron is not a championship player, he is a joke." Sometimes it looked like that was true, 2011 NBA Finals for example, and Game 5 of the 2010 Eastern Conference Semi Finals against the Celtics was another. It was the last home game in Cleveland for LeBron, and he went out on a very low note, disappearing from that game with the Cavaliers losing Game 6 of that series and putting into motion the chain of events that led to LeBron taking his talents to South Beach.
For LeBron, the 2011 NBA Finals was the perfect example of being at rock bottom. We all remember his 8 point game in Game 4 of that series. It didn't look like he could score if he was the only one on the court for a while.
But let's say LeBron didn't show up in Game 6 against the Celtics. Let's say he had another 8 point game, or something in that range. The "LeBron is not clutch" talk heats up even more, making it 2 years in Miami without an NBA championship. He was still getting the same results as he was in Cleveland, he couldn't get over the hump and defeat the Boston Celtics, making "The Decision" look like it was the wrong one.
Not only does it affect LeBron, but it possibly gets Miami Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra fired (some wanted him fired after a 9-8 start to the 2011 season). Then after two failed seasons, Pat Riley may have had to think about trading Chris Bosh, which is still a rumor to this day.
With the Heat being eliminated then, it would advance the Boston Celtics to the NBA Finals to face the Oklahoma City Thunder. We saw how dominant the Thunder were with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden. I would be likely they would've beaten the Celtics in the Finals, giving Kevin Durant a ring before LeBron. Now Kevin Durant is the best player in the NBA, he's still very young, and he's got potential to be the next Michael Jordan, instead of LeBron. James Harden might still be a part of the Thunder, basically undoing Dwight Howard's decision to leave the Lakers.
What if the Celtics beat the Thunder in the Finals? The Thunder would be the same as they are today, but the Celtics might be different. Ray Allen probably would've stayed with the Celtics, making him not a part of the Miami Heat. Without him, that clutch shot in Game 6 vs. the Spurs would've never happened, leaving LeBron James ring-less.
Also, it might have made the Celtics more hesitant to trade Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and coach Doc Rivers. Which would've kept Brad Stevens at Butler.
So not only did LeBron's Game 6 performance affect him, but the rest of the NBA. It would've kept him ring-less, making all the annoying LeBron jokes go on and on and on. It could have gotten Spoelstra fired, Chris Bosh traded, Kevin Durant a ring, and making LeBron the laughing stock of the NBA. Not 1, Not 2, Not 3, but 0 rings for the Miami Heat Big 3. We wouldn't be having the MJ/LeBron debates we are having today, but instead, we might be having the MJ/Durant arguments, or more of the MJ/Kobe arguments.
Game 6 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals should not only go down as one of LeBron James' best moments,or even as one of the best games in Miami Heat history, but as one of the most important games in NBA history.