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LeBron James is Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year

December 03, 2012|By Houston Mitchell
  • LeBron James on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
LeBron James on the cover of Sports Illustrated. (Sports Illustrated )

LeBron James of the Miami Heat was named Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year on Monday, and James said he takes it as a sign that all has been forgiven for his messy departure from the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2010.

"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."

Time Inc. Sports Group editor Paul Fichtenbaum said that "LeBron kind of made it easy on us. In a year that had really high standards, he just stood taller than everybody else."

In 2012, James became an NBA champion for the first time, won the NBA Finals MVP trophy, again helped the U.S. win Olympic gold, and picked up his third NBA MVP award. Other than that, he didn't do much.

"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."

Other candidates for Sportsman of the Year were Olympians Usain Bolt, Gabby Douglas and Missy Franklin and tennis star Roger Federer.

"Do I need it? I don't need it," James said. "I don't ever look for individual accolades. I do what I do because I love it and I want to continue to get better at it."

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