After a year where he was brilliant on the court and off, basketball great LeBron James has been announced as the winner of The Associated Press (AP) Male Athlete of the Year award for a record-tying fourth time.
James’ on-court performance this year was spectacular again. A fourth NBA title and fourth NBA Finals MVP trophy were his, as he lifted the Los Angeles Lakers back atop the basketball world.
Away from the court, James used his influence to tell the world in 2020 that Black Lives Matter and he helped convince many who had never voted to finally head to the polls. He found more ways to continue elevating the lives of people in his hometown.
“I still know what I do on the floor and obviously, I give everything to the game,” James told AP.
“But I can make a greater impact off the floor right now, more than I can on the floor. And I want to continue to inspire people with the way I play the game of basketball.
“But there’s so many more things that I can do off the floor to help cultivate people, inspire people, bring people together, empower them.”
The AP award was first given out in 1931. James’ fourth win matched Lance Armstrong and Tiger Woods for the most by men.
Three women have won the AP award at least four times; Babe Didrikson was a six-time winner, Serena Williams has won five and Chris Evert four.
The AP’s Female Athlete of the Year will be announced on Sunday.
James finished with 78 points in voting by a panel of 35 AP customers and editors.
Kansas City quarterback and reigning Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes was a narrow second with 71 points.
Seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton was a distant third with 14 points.
James – also the AP’s male athlete of this past decade – also won the yearly AP award in 2013, 2016 and 2018.
Michael Jordan, a three-time winner, is the only other basketball player to win the AP award more than once.