MR. SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR 2012 (Sports Illustrated)

Courtesy NBA/ESPN

LeBron James is the 2012 Sportsman of the Year, adding the prestigious award to his long list of career accomplishments. SI granted James the honor because of his stellar 2012 career achievements, including an Olympic gold medal, NBA MVP, and his first world championship.  LeBron dominated the NBA, averaging 27 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists for the Heat in their stellar championship season. When asked about his award, James was thankful for overcoming all of the adversity and negative publicity he received after the infamous “Decision” to leave Cleveland in 2010. “I remember just like yesterday when I signed here and basically, like the roof caved in,” James told The Associated Press. “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.”  Sports Illustrated’s annual honor has long been a benchmark for athletic triumph. Michael Jordan won the award in 1991, and Dwyane Wade was the last NBA player to receive the award, winning it in 2006.

Courtesy NBA

                 On top of his momentous success on the court, James has also proven to be an honorable philanthropist. He and his mother Gloria founded The LeBron James Family Foundation in 2003. The organization was created to increase awareness of the importance of education, particularly for kids with underprivileged backgrounds. James has had great success giving back to both the Akron and South Florida communities. He recently started the “I Promise” program, which makes third grades kids promise to stay in school and maximize their educational opportunities. LeBron works closely with local Boys and Girls clubs and public school programs to ensure that kids are staying in school. “I don’t want any of my kids to become a statistic and drop out of school,” he said. The “I Promise” Program has another cool facet: each year, they induct another class of third graders to the program. The Class of 2021 was last year’s introductory class, and this year the Class of 2022 was inducted to the foundation’s effort to keep kids in school. LeBron will certainly build off of his Sportsman of the Year award to continue to strengthen his success on and off the court.

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