Nine days. That is how much time LeBron James has taken off in the past year. He has spent thousands of hours on the hardwood perfecting his game to a level only few have reached. James has become what coaches call “positionless.” He has the ability to play every position on the floor at ease. Tell him to control the ball and LeBron will play point guard. Next possession have him post up and he will be the forward. After a remarkable season of winning, James has created the slogan “Earned, Not Given,” knowing how hard he worked to get where he is today. LeBron James’ accomplishments over the past year have earned him the 2012 Sportsman of the Year.
Critics and sports fans throughout the world are outraged at the fact that one of the most hated players in any sport has the title of Sportsman on the Year. Why not Tom Brady, who had an incredible NFL season last year? Rory McIlroy is in the process of establishing himself as the best golfer in the world, and is very deserving of the title. So why LeBron? He is a “coward” to some. To others, he is the least liked man on the face of the planet. All of these people fail to see what LeBron James has accomplished in the past year.
First came the MVP. At only 27, James was awarded his third MVP. What he did last season was incredible to see. His game evolutionized in front of everyone’s eyes, and he established himself as the best in the league. However, James thought of the award as nothing but him doing his job. No awards mattered to him last year except for the championship. In his press conference after winning the MVP, James stated, “This is not the award I want. I want that championship.”
Then there was that championship he was talking about. LeBron was dubbed as “The King with no ring” after a few years in the NBA. James knows that in order to be compared with the greats, he has to have rings. “It’s about damn time,” were the four words LeBron echoed after he finally held the Finals trophy. That elusive first championship is now LeBron’s, and he wants more. The taste of champagne, the calls, tweets and messages; he wants it all to happen again. LeBron James will be working towards earning his second ring this season.
Everyone who witnessed LeBron James grow as an NBA player last season also saw what he did in the 2011 NBA Finals. “Not four, not five, not six…,” LeBron stated at his Miami Heat introduction in 2010. In his first season in South Beach, LeBron had the opportunity to keep his word and start the process of winning multiple championships. He showed up in the playoffs and cruised into the Finals. However, James choked and vanished against the Dallas Mavericks in the championship series. After a bitter loss, the criticism was blown to an amount no other athlete has ever had. LeBron was the complete opposite in last season’s Finals matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder. He controlled every game that series and won the NBA Finals MVP, capping off an unforgettable season.
One would think that after winning your first championship and celebrating for days, you would probably take a break. LeBron James did not stop, though. He packed his bags and flew across the pond to London, where he would play for his second gold medal in the 2012 Olympic Games. The team, with no surprise, dominated the tournament and won gold. James won his fourth major award of the year, and returned home for a fresh NBA season.
A Finals win, MVP, Finals MVP, and a gold medal—LeBron James capped off one of the most memorable seasons any athlete has ever had. What he did has put him in the conversation with Michael Jordan, who ironically is the only other to win these four awards in the same year, for greatest of all time. However, that is another topic up for debate. The 2012 Sportsman of the Year was anything but a debate, and LeBron James is this year’s best player in the world.