LeBron James Honored as Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year

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LeBron James is already known to many as “King James” and now the star athlete has been given a new title- Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year.

The Cleveland Cavaliers star was chosen for his strong leadership skills that helped lead the team to their first ever NBA championship, as well as his ” active voice on current events and social issues, speaking out against racial inequality as well as helping campaign for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton,” according to the mag.

“It’s hard to remember a year with such a crowded field of Sportsperson candidates,” said Chris Stone, Sports Illustrated Editor in Chief, in a press release. “But in the end LeBron James was the clear choice. It’s not just the way he took over the NBA Finals—though that performance was epic. It’s that LeBron was also carrying the weight of that promise he made when he returned to Cleveland in 2014. It’s a special thing for a favorite son to follow through on that kind of commitment to his hometown. Especially since he doubles down on that commitment off the court, with the work his foundation does for underserved kids in Akron and with his increasing willingness to speak out in the fight for social justice. On court and off, James was the athlete in full in 2016.”

THANKFUL, GRATEFUL, HUMBLED, BLESSED, THANK YOU!!! #StriveForGreatness #RWTW #TheKidFromAkron #JamesGang

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

The basketballer was honored alongside the 2016 SI Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award Winners Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jim Brown and Bill Russell; the SI Kids SportsKids of the Year and other top names and moments from the year in sports at SI’s special Sportsperson of the Year celebration- and none other than Jay Z was there to present him with the honor.

“He’s a dedicated family man who married his high school sweetheart Savannah. Has three lovely children. He’s the son who honors and worships his mother Gloria. The friend who put his “posse” in position. We know where we come from,” Jay said. “We do understand where we come from, and the only difference between us and someone who has their MBA from Wharton or Sloan or Berkeley or Stanford is opportunity. LeBron James has provided his friends with that opportunity

LeBron was proud to be recognized, but kept it humble during his speech. “It’s never about the individual,” James said while accepting his trophy. “It’s always about the people behind him. It’s always about the people that’s behind the camera. It’s always about the people that don’t get the credit. It’s always about the people that sacrifice what they could be doing with their lives for the better of the individual.”

This is the seventh time the Sportsperson award has gone to a professional basketball player. The others were Dwyane Wade (2006), Tim Duncan and David Robinson (’03), Michael Jordan (1991), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1985) and Bill Russell (1968).

Watch King James make his acceptance speech below:

Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated/Instagram