One of the greatest superteams in NBA history was apparently close to being dismantled years ahead of schedule.
In an Instagram Live session with fans Thursday, LeBron James revealed he believed Miami Heat president Pat Riley would have broken up the team's Big 3 of Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, and himself if the Boston Celtics eliminated the team in the 2012 playoffs.
"My mentality was if we lose, Pat Riley may break us all up. And I (didn't) want that," James said, courtesy of ESPN's Brian Windhorst. "It might be the quickest breakup in basketball history."
James was referencing his mindset entering Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals that year. The Celtics held a 3-2 series lead, needing only to win that contest at home to eliminate the Heat.
In response, James produced one of his greatest postseason performances, dropping 45 points to go with 15 rebounds and five assists while forcing a Game 7 in Miami, which the Heat won too.
James also said he felt the need to save the Heat for his own sake after previously falling short in the playoffs with both Miami and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
"Not only might they break it all up, but my legacy is going to take a huge, huge hit if I don't go out here and perform at an all-time high," he said.
After securing the comeback against Boston, Miami moved on to the NBA Finals to face the Oklahoma City Thunder. Following a Game 1 loss, James and the Heat rallied for four straight wins, earning the now-Los Angeles Lakers forward his first NBA championship.