LeBron named SI Sportsman of the Year

LEBRON JAMES was named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year, the magazine announced Monday.

James became the first NBA player to win the award since Miami Heat teammate Dwyane Wade in 2006.

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.

Time Inc. Sports Group editor Paul Fichtenbaum said one thing separating James this year was that when Miami needed him most “he came up the biggest.” In particular, Game 4 of the second-round series at Indiana and Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals at Boston.

“LeBron kind of made it easy on us,” Fichtenbaum said. “In a year that had really high standards, he just stood taller than everybody else.”

James won essentially all he could win in 2012: He became an NBA champion for the first time, won the NBA Finals MVP trophy, helped the U.S. win Olympic gold for the second time and picked up his third NBA MVP award. Noli Cruz

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