SBD/December 4, 2012/Media

LeBron James Largely Seen As Fitting Choice For SI's Sportsman Of The Year

James in '12 won his first NBA title, second Olympic Gold Medal and third MVP award
SI's selection of Heat F LeBron James as its '12 Sportsman of the Year has drawn a lot of reaction -- both positive and negative -- since it was announced yesterday morning. SI's Lee Jenkins, who wrote the magazine's accompanying story on James, said he was “reluctant at first” to agree with the selection of James because it "seemed too fast, too soon from ‘The Decision.'" However, Jenkins added, “He has said and done pretty much all of the right things over the past 12-15 months, and I think you’ve got to give him a nod for that.” Jenkins: "As far as his year, it was historic." SI’s Jim Trotter said, “This award was as much about him maturing and learning humility than it was what he accomplished on the court” (“Rome,” CBS Sports Network, 12/3). SI’s Chris Mannix said James “was the perfect choice because nobody’s had a better individual year than LeBron James, both on and in some ways off the court.” James was named NBA MVP, won his first NBA championship and a second Olympic Gold Medal. He also “cleaned up his image over this past year." Mannix: "He’s not the same jackass that he was.” NBC Sports Network’s Erik Kuselias said, “I don’t even think it’s close.” He said of James, “He was A-Rod before this year. He was kind of that guy who couldn’t get it done in a big spot” ("NBC Sports Talk," NBCSN, 12/3). ESPN’s Michael Wilbon said, “It could have been Usain Bolt, but I’m good with LeBron. I think he’s a clear choice actually” (“PTI,” ESPN, 12/3).

OTHER CHOICES: NBCSN’s Ross Tucker said he was thinking “outside the box” and that British distance runner Mo Farah should have been Sportsman of the Year because he won two Olympic Gold Medals “in his home country, that’s very hard to do.” SI’s Pete Thamel said South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius should have been selected because “he transcended sport by doing what he did and appearing in the Olympics." Thamel: "I think that’s what sportsmanship should be about, not LeBron James not saying anything dumb for a year” (“NBC Sports Talk,” NBCSN, 12/3).
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