Not many NBA players have had a season quite like LeBron James.
In appreciation of what the 35-year-old has achieved both off and on the court, the Los Angeles Lakers star player has been chosen TIME magazine’s Athlete of the Year.
“After nearly twenty years in the NBA, LeBron has completely realized that his talent on the basketball court is a way to achieve something significant off it,” Time wrote. “And this year, more than anybody before him, he displayed why he is unmatched in both.”
In October, James led the way for the Lakers to a record-breaking 17th championship title during a season like any other, with the significant part of the campaign was conducted in Orlando, Florida, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
It was James’ fourth Finals MVP award and fourth NBA title. He is the first player in the history of the NBA to win the honour with three different teams. However, in terms of individual titles, he is in second place after Michael Jordan, who has six titles.
James has since continued his contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, signing a two-year deal worth $85 million.
Before this November’s presidential election he encouraged voter registration, by establishing the organization “More Than A Vote” in an attempt to battle racist, systemic voter suppression. He is one of the sport’s significant voices in speaking out in opposition to police brutality and racial injustice.
The organization (More Than A Vote) includes prominent Black artists and athletes who used their social media channels to educate and motivate their followers on how to enter a ballot for this year’s election.
Naomi Osaka, the tennis champion who wore masks respecting victims of racial discrimination in September during her run to the US Open Championship title, said, “Apart from being the best player, he also has the most influential voice.”