Sports Illustrated Names LeBron James as Sportsman of the Year
The prestigious Sports Illustrated magazine has named Miami Heat superstar LeBron James as Sportsman of the Year, making him the sixth professional basketball player to win the accolade.
James joined teammate Dwyane Wade, Tim Duncan, David Robinson, Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Russell as the only NBA players who received the award.
"LeBron's stirring accomplishments on and off the court were impossible to ignore. He showed tremendous heart during times of adversity, and he delivered with relentless determination," Time Inc. Sports Group Editor Paul Fichtenbaum said in a press release.
James won his first NBA title after the Heat defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Finals last season. He also won his third Most Valuable Player trophy, the Finals MVP and a gold medal in the London Olympics.
James spent seven seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers but failed to win a championship, leading him to move to the Miami Heat two years ago, joining forces with Wade and Chris Bosh.
In his first season, James fell short in his quest for his first NBA title, losing to Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks in the Finals.
Critics have blamed James for the Heat's loss, saying he failed to deliver when mattered most in the six-game series.
James redeemed himself last season, carrying the Heat to their second championship and his first after beating the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Finals.
Then, James led the United States to an Olympic gold medal in London to cap a remarkable year.
He became the second professional basketball player to be named NBA Finals MVP, regular season MVP and win a gold medal in the same calendar year, second to Michael Jordan, who accomplished the feat in 1992.
Sports Illustrated also praised James for his charitable work, especially involving education of schoolchildren in his hometown Akron, Ohio.
"Equally as impressive, although much less heralded, was his development of a hands-on educational program in an Akron, Ohio, school district which will have a profound and long-lasting impact on its students. His accomplishments embody the finest traditions of this award," Fichtenbaum said.
Since 1954, the magazine has been bestowing the honor "to the transcendent athlete, coach or team who by virtue of their athletic achievement and comportment took us all to a higher place."
LeBron James named SI's Sportsman of the Year
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