2020 has been a year unlike any other and sports has been affected as much as any institution in the world. But there was one clear choice for the 2020 TIME Athlete of the Year.
On Thursday, Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James was named the TIME Athlete of the Year. The award comes as a result of winning the 2020 NBA title during a historic season with the Los Angeles Lakers, but also for his social activism off the court.
“After nearly two decades in the NBA, LeBron James has fully embraced that his talent on the court is a means to achieving something greater off it,” TIME tweeted. “And this year, more than in any before it, he showed why he is unrivaled in both #TIMEPOY”
2020 saw LeBron James not only lead the Black Lives Matter movement in the NBA, but encourage thousands of people to vote with his More Than a Vote campaign. The fruits of his labor bore out in part with historic turnout in the 2020 U.S. Presidential election.
After nearly two decades in the NBA, LeBron James has fully embraced that his talent on the court is a means to achieving something greater off it. And this year, more than in any before it, he showed why he is unrivaled in both #TIMEPOY https://t.co/fTZlwSEFtn
— TIME (@TIME) December 10, 2020
Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka was one of many sports stars interviewed to praise LeBron. She credits him for not only being the NBA’s best player, but one of sports’ most powerful voices.
“Not only is he the best player, but he has the most powerful voice,” Osaka said.
WNBA legend Sue Bird said that LeBron getting on board with a movement makes everyone want to.
“When you have somebody of LeBron’s stature setting the tone, it makes it that much easier for everyone to get on board,” Bird said.
Even international stars such as Formula One star Lewis Hamilton felt inspired by LeBron.
“When I saw across the pond that another top athlete was also fighting for similar causes,” Hamilton said. “I knew, O.K., I’m not alone here.”
There are many things that LeBron James would probably wish had gone differently in 2020. But there’s little doubt that this was the year he his biggest marks on the United States and the world.
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