LeBron James insisted the "job is not done" after guiding the Los Angeles Lakers to the NBA Finals for the first time in 10 years.
James posted a triple-double as the top-seeded Lakers beat the Denver Nuggets 117-107 on Saturday to seal a 4-1 series victory in the Western Conference finals.
The three-time NBA champion had 38 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists to lead the Lakers back to the Finals, having not featured in the showpiece since winning their last title in 2010.
But as James prepares for his 10th Finals appearance, after missing the playoffs in his first season with the Lakers, the 35-year-old superstar was grounded post-game in Orlando, Florida.
"The job is not done," said James, whose Lakers will face either the Miami Heat or the Boston Celtics. "But it's great to appreciate the moments throughout the course of a journey.
"I am extremely proud to be a part of this franchise getting back to where it belongs, playing and competing for championships. This is what I came here for."
It was James' 27th career playoff triple-double as the four-time MVP eyes a fourth championship ring.
All-Star team-mate Anthony Davis contributed 27 points for the Lakers, who will make their 32nd Finals appearance.
"In a closeout game, I am just as desperate as the team that we are trying to closeout. I don't want to play another game," James said.
"I am not undefeated in closeout games, but if we have the chance to win I don't want to play another game."
James then recalled the legacy of Kobe Bryant, who led the Lakers to their most recent championship a decade ago.
Bryant – the victim of a tragic helicopter crash in January – was crowned MVP as the Lakers beat the Celtics in the 2010 Finals and the NBA legend continues to inspire James and others.
"Every time you put on purple and gold, you think about his legacy, you think about him and what he meant to this franchise for 20-plus years and what he stood for both on the floor and off the floor," James added.
"What he demanded out of his team-mates, what he demanded out of himself. We have some similarities in that sense.
"Our games are different. But as far as our mindset and our drive to want to be the best, and our drive to not lose ... just that drive to always want to be victorious. It stops you from sleeping."