LeBron James Named Sports Illustrated “Sportsman of the Year”
LeBron James becomes the first NBA player to win the award since Heat teammate Dwyane Wade in 2006.
This is the 18th time LeBron will be on SI’s cover. His first time was as a high school junior in February 2002, when the magazine famously dubbed him “The Chosen One” and touted how he would have been an NBA lottery pick even then.
In a year where there were so many amazing atheltes to pick from, from olympians Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, Gabby Douglas and Missy Franklin who stole the show in London this summer, to Roger Federer captured Wimbledon for the seventh time, and of course Miguel Cabrera who became baseball’s first Triple Crown winner in 45 years, LeBron stood tall among them all.
Time Inc. Sports Group editor Paul Fichtenbaum said one thing separating James this year was that when Miami needed him most “he came up the biggest.” In particular, Game 4 of the second-round series at Indiana and Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals at Boston.
“LeBron kind of made it easy on us,” Fichtenbaum said. “In a year that had really high standards, he just stood taller than everybody else.”
According to Fichtenbaum, James was the choice not only for his play but also because of his charitable work, especially involving schoolchildren in his native Akron, Ohio.
“I do think there has been some sort of closure — maybe not entirely in Cleveland, but across the nation,” Fichtenbaum said. “LeBron’s jerseys are now the No. 1-selling jerseys. I think there’s a reason for that. I think people really appreciate him for everything he can do.”
“I remember just like yesterday when I signed here and basically, like the roof caved in,” James told The Associated Press, talking about his infamous “Decision” to leave Cleveland for Miami in 2010. “To see that I and my team and everyone around me was able to patch that roof up, to come to this point, to come to this point and receive such a prestigious award, it’s huge.”