MIAMI — It will be known as the LeBron James Headband Game.
He's worn them for years, primarily to keep sweat out of his eyes, as well as out of habit and in recent years possibly to hide his oft-discussed receding hairline.
But when he lost the headband Tuesday night, the Miami Heat's fortunes turned around.
James lost his signature accessory with just over 9 minutes left in the fourth quarter, got a dunk on that very play and never replaced the headband the rest of the way. He finished with 32 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists, and the Heat rallied from a 13-point second-half deficit to beat the San Antonio Spurs 103-100 in overtime in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
"I don't even remember the play much," James said. "I was just focused on the job, the task at hand, and just trying to be aggressive, just trying to figure out ways I could help the team get back into the game. And you know, I guess the headband was the least of my worries at that point."
Clearly so, since when a replacement headband was flipped onto the court from the Heat bench, it remained in the hands of someone who was underneath the basket. James — who has stopped mid-play at times in his Heat tenure to pick up and reapply a headband after it's gotten knocked askew — had much bigger things on his mind.
After the headband came off, James made 6 of 12 shots, scored 14 points, grabbed four rebounds and handed out three assists. And when it was over, he simply looked exhausted.
"It was by far the best game I've ever been a part of," James said.
Game 7 of the Heat-Spurs series is Thursday night, when a champion will be crowned. No word yet on whether James plans to stick with the headband.