Regular season MVP, NBA Championship, Finals MVP, Gold Medal…LeBron James was named Sports Illustrated’s 2012 Sportsman of the Year. When James found out the star was actually surprised.
“I’m very appreciative of it, and my family is very excited about it, I’m happy that I’m able to represent my family and my kids and everyone in the Heat organization in the highest standard”
Apparently, that’s no longer the case. The magazine announced its annual choice Monday, with James becoming the first NBA player to win the award since Heat teammate Dwyane Wade in 2006.
“I remember just like yesterday when I signed here and basically, like the roof caved in,” James told The Associated Press, referring to the fallout from 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.”
Past winners include Muhammad Ali, Jack Nicklaus, Wayne Gretzky, Arthur Ashe, Tom Brady, Derek Jeter and Michael Phelps. College basketball coaches Mike Krzyzewski – James’ Olympic coach – and Pat Summitt shared the honor last year.