This was never about the wait.

Within 11 months of coming together LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were in the NBA Finals.

No, this was always about the weight.

Because no team these past three seasons, perhaps ever, has played amid the burden of such a weight of expectations. The Miami Heat had to be the best, or else the feeling would be the worst. No middle ground.

And Thursday?

Thursday was the release valve, a moment that will forever change the dynamic of these three and this franchise.

LeBron James is a multiple champion, his rings now a matching pair, Thursday arguably his crowning NBA achievement.

No. 6 was transcendent. Simply transcendent.

This 95-88 victory over the San Antonio Spurs was the coronation, the affirmation, the validation. No, not one . . . at least two . . . and the possibilities of as many more as Micky Arison's tax budget allows.

It wasn't as easy as advertised, but never could be as easy as promoted on that smoke-enveloped stage the first week of July 2010.

No, this playoff run was as treacherous as the minefield that was Thursday's Game 7. There was the series-opening loss to the Chicago Bulls, the 1-1, 2-2 and 3-3 ties against the Indiana Pacers, the 0-1, 1-2, 2-3 deficits against the Spurs, who had never trailed in their five Finals appearances until Thursday's final buzzer.

Along the way these past two months, so much had to be overcome. There were Wade's knees, Chris Bosh's ankle, LeBron's wayward shooting, which again was shaky at Thursday's start but pure enough to fuel the Heat with his 3-pointers.

Over this playoff run there was good Mario and not-so-good Wario, both sides of the Chalmers thrill ride again on display Thursday, ultimately the good outdoing the evil.

There was Shane Battier then Mike Miller, Mike Miller then Shane Battier, someone desperately needed to provide the jolt of 3-pointers and energy, with Battier coming through Thursday as if he was Miller in last season's Game 5 title-clinching victory against Oklahoma City.

There was Udonis Haslem as a starter and Chris Andersen the contributor at the start of this series. Then Haslem and Andersen as benchwarmers. And then Birdman and Haslem back again Thursday.

There was Norris Cole seizing control against Nate Robinson in the second round, and then Norris Cole making his greatest leap in the Finals from the bench, in full warmups, when Ray Allen had the audacity to send Game 6 against the Spurs into overtime with the 3-pointer he was signed to deliver.

There was Julio from Miami, frequent sports-talk caller, emailing Thursday morning, "I can't take this anymore. I want it to just be over already. This has not been a fun ride."