Fresh off LeBron James first NBA championship, he has another award to add to his lengthy resume. James has been named the 2012 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of The Year. Two years ago was a different song for James as he left his hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers via a nationally televised special titled “The Decision.” In a matter of hours, LeBron James became one of the most hated athletes in America choosing to take his talents to South Beach. As the new face of the Miami Heat, James redemption story was in the beginning pages.
After settling in Miami, LeBron slowly started to show remorse for his actions. He wondered why he was the target of opposing teams fanbases in every arena he stepped in night after night. The reasoning behind the superstar leaving for Miami was quite valid. He was not only teaming up with some of his closest friends in Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade but he was readying himself for a championship run. Can you truly be considered one of the greats in your sport if you don’t have championships? LeBron came to the realization that it wasn’t leaving his hometown team, but how he decided to leave is what angered so many fans.
When you think of the kid that came from St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio, you think of the amazingly skilled, overly happy player that became an instant fan favorite. Not only was James seen as the savior to his hometown team of the Cleveland Cavaliers which had never won a championship but he was the face of the NBA in a matter of years.
Once in Miami, James played angry with something to prove for the first time in his life. Every move by James was under microscope and seemed to be under scrutiny. While going through those emotions, James still led the Miami Heat to the NBA Finals where he would lose to the Dallas Mavericks. It’s one thing to lose, but to know everybody outside of Miami is rooting against you carried a heavy weight on the self-proclaimed King’s shoulders.
Finding himself after a hurtful loss in the NBA Finals, LeBron promised to become who he was again. The 2011-2012 season would become the start of the redemption story for LeBron James. Not only was he having fun again, but he was winning in the same manner he had in previous years; with a smile. It seemed as if he was finally home into the place of comfort within himself. He would go on to dominate the NBA regular season which gained him the prestigous MVP award of the season but that wasn’t his goal.
LeBron had won MVP’s before but he had never felt the moment of a full deep breath knowing he was a NBA champion. The Miami Heat were on their way and LeBron James finally got his ring. From the most loved to the most hated and back in the good graces of sports fans, LeBron had to overcome his personal battle of “The Decision.” With his first ring behind him, the monkey is off his back and the same person who was once loved by all is back to having fun again.
Sports Illustrated 2012 Sportsman of the Year: LeBron James