LeBron James, 2012’s Athlete Of The Year

LeBron James 2012 Athlete Of The Year

We are all witnesses. Again.

Cleveland: Years 1-8 meant The Chosen 1 could not win one with the hand he was dealt. Miami: Year 1 meant The Chosen 1 could not win one with the stacked deck he picked, either.

But Miami: Year 2 meant we were all (finally) witnesses. Not to the next Jordan. But the first LeBron James. A Mozart with a Spaulding. A 6’8” 260 pound freight train who could guard any of the five positions on the court. And a svelte marketing bonanza with the range of Eddie Murphy off it.

LeBron’s 2012 will be the year we tell our children and grandchildren about. Like Jordan’s 1991 that our fathers and grandfathers told us about. It was the year he finally vanquished the wily veteran Eastern rival (Jordan, the Pistons; LeBron, the Celtics) and conquered the first ring.

LeBron is still five rings short of Jordan, four of Kobe. And Kevin Durant waits in the wings. But King James has finally assumed the throne.

America has not entirely forgiven LeBron James. Perhaps it never will. But the boos aren’t as deafening. The Cavs jerseys are no longer torched. Because we are all witnesses. Again. America stands back to admire our generation’s greatest talent at the peak of his powers.

Because we would rather watch history than morality plays.

* * * * * *

Runner-Up: Lionel Messi.

Because the YouTube video of all 86 Messi goals in 2012 lasts ten and a half minutes:

Runner-Up #2: Michael Phelps

Because he ditched swim practice for months, partied in Vegas, and still dusted the mouthy Ryan “This Is My Year!” Lochte in London.

Because he has more Olympic medals (22) than the entire nations of: India, Chile, Portugal, Croatia, Nigeria, Thailand, and Israel. Ever.

* * * * * *

Honorable Mention: Usain Bolt, Miguel Cabrera, Gabby Douglas, Roger Federer, Jeremy Lin, Peyton Manning, Red Bull Sky-Diver Felix Baumgartner, Rory McElroy, 2012 U.S. Women Olympic Team, Adrian Peterson, Mike Trout

Dishonorable Mention: Lance Armstrong, New York Jets (Especially Mark Sanchez), Penn State, Replacement Refs, Alex Rodriguez


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