MIAMI (AP) — LeBron James is back on Twitter, and the Miami Heat star has more followers than ever.
The newly crowned NBA champion and NBA Finals MVP ended a nearly two-month break from social media early Friday, posting a 50-second video to thank fans for both their support and their patience.
James now has just over 5 million followers. He crossed that milestone Friday, a few hours after the Heat beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 5 of the finals to win the franchise’s second championship.
James — whose Twitter handle is (at)kingjames — said he stopped tweeting during the playoffs in an effort to avoid distractions as he chased his first championship.
“I’m at a loss for words right now,” James said in the video. “I want to shout-out my fans. I know I haven’t been with you all the last couple months. Think April 27 was the last time I sent out a tweet. But I want you all to know that I just wanted to try to get as focused as possible on this championship run.”
He paused there for a moment, pointing to his hat printed with the words “2012 NBA Champions” and the Heat logo.
“And as you can see, I am a champion,” James continued. “But without you guys, it wouldn’t have been possible. You guys stuck with me throughout the whole playoffs. You guys stuck with me through the last couple years. And thank you guys so much. You guys share this championship with me and this MVP trophy with me, this MVP finals trophy with me. Love you guys, and I am back.”
James tweeted twice more in the next few hours. On Friday morning, after the team party ended, he wrote “I think it just hit me, I’m a CHAMPION!! I AM a CHAMPION!!”
Later Friday, he posted a photo of himself standing near his stall in the Heat locker room, holding the NBA championship trophy in one hand and his finals MVP trophy in the other.
“It’s still so surreal! Don’t wake me up from this feeling,” James wrote.
He is the second U.S.-based athlete to cross the 5-million-follower mark: Shaquille O’Neal has about 850,000 more followers than James. And last month, the NBA became the world’s first major sports league with more than 5 million followers.
On Tuesday night, James will appear on the on “Late Show with David Letterman” on CBS.
Follow Tim Reynolds on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ByTimReynolds
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.