As the year 2013 wraps up, you could say that LeBron James has arguably had one of the — if not the — best 12 months of his life. Dating back to February when he was named to yet another All Star team, to the end of the basketball season when he was named to the All NBA 1st team, again, James has done it all.
Oh, there was something about winning a back-to-back championship and Finals MVP along the way too.
Thursday, James’ year got even better as he joined Michael Jordan and Larry Bird to be the only professional basketball players to be named the AP athlete of the year in 2013.
“I’m chasing something and it’s bigger than me as a basketball player,” James said, according to the AP. “I believe my calling is much higher than being a basketball player. I can inspire people. Youth is huge to me. If I can get kids to look at me as a role model, as a leader, a superhero … those things mean so much, and that’s what I think I was built for. I was put here for this lovely game of basketball, but I don’t think this is the biggest role that I’m going to have.”
As much as people hate breathing the names of James and Jordan in the same sentence, the Miami Heat forward displayed a lot of character and humility when asked about his winning the award. Regardless of how you look at the two players, James absolutely deserves to be in the conversation for one of the greatest of all-time.
“I don’t think I’ve changed much this year,” James said. “I’ve just improved and continued to improve on being more than just as a basketball player. I’ve matured as a leader, as a father, as a husband, as a friend.”
Congratulations to James on the award, but more importantly, congratulations on continuing to be a better human being overall. Above all else, he has the right idea that basketball isn’t the end for him. Being a role model, a positive influence and giving to those in need is much more important. I think it is safe to say he has that idea down.