LeBron James has been named the Time Athlete of the Year for 2020.
The 35-year old won his fourth NBA championship after the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Miami Heat in the NBA’s Disney
World bubble. While James is one of the greatest athletes on the planet, his accomplishments aren’t all basketball-related. James’s off-court contributions are just as impressive.
In June, James launched a nonprofit called More Than a Vote with a goal to get more people to the polls for the 2020 election season. It aimed to also help fight voter suppression in communities of color. More Than a Vote helped spark a huge increase in voter registration among his fellow athletes, as well as helped convert sports arenas around the U.S. into polling locations.
James recruited athletes from other sports to help his cause as well, making NFL stars like Patrick Mahomes and Odell Beckham Jr. founding members of the organization.
The organization itself didn’t endorse a candidate, but James personally endorsed Joe Biden for President.
James has also founded an elementary school in Akron, Ohio — where he grew up — called the I Promise School, specifically designed for children at risk of not graduating.
“After nearly two decades in the NBA, James has fully embraced that his talent on the court is a means to achieving something greater off it,” Time writer Sean Gregory wrote in the publisher’s official announcement. “And this year, more than in any before it, he showed why he is unrivaled in both. Despite misgivings, James played in the bubble and led the Los Angeles Lakers to the NBA championship—his first with the team and fourth overall. By staying, James increased his leverage and influence, and got deep-pocketed owners, fellow athletes and fans the world over engaged directly with democracy. And through it all, he spoke personally to the anguish of Black Americans, channeling pain and outrage into a plan of action.”
Time will soon reveal its 2020 Person of the Year as well. The finalists include President Donald Trump, President-elect Joe Biden, the Movement for Racial Justice and Dr. Anthony Fauci and health workers.
The winner will be announced Thursday night on NBC.
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