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LeBron James named 2012 Sportsman of the Year

10:44 AM, Dec 3, 2012   |    comments
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It might not be the news Cleveland sports fans want to read, but LeBron James has now been named the 2012 Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated.

Sports Illustrated says James accomplished "the rare feat of winning an NBA Championship, an Olympic Gold and being named league MVP and Finals MVP" in 2012.

The Sportsman of the Year award is annually presented to an athlete, coach or team of superior athletic achievement.

"This year there was an endless list of high-quality possibilities," says Time Inc. Sports Group Editor Paul Fichtenbaum. "But 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. 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."

This recognition comes 29 months after James announced he was leaving Cleveland to join the Miami Heat.

In the Sports Illustrated article, James said he did not think achieving the Sportsman award was possible two years ago.

"No, I did not, James explains. "I thought I would be helping a lot of kids and raise $3 million by going on TV and saying, 'Hey, I want to play for the Miami Heat.' But it affected far more people than I imagined. I know it wasn't on the level of an injury or an addiction, but it was something I had to recover from. I had to become a better person, a better player, a better father, a better friend, a better mentor and a better leader. I've changed, and I think people have started to understand who I really am."

Previous Sportsman honorees include Dwayne Wade (2006), Michael Jordan (1991) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1985).

The first award was given out in 1954.

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