LeBron James has won just about every team and personal award in Basketball and now it seems the Miami Heat star is sweeping up away from the sport. The forward was named the winner of the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year Award for 2013, becoming just the third Basketball player to claim the prestigious annual prize.
The award is handed out after a vote by sports editors across the United States and LeBron claimed this year´s prize alongside female recipient Serena Williams. James picked up 31 of the 96 votes cast to beat out Peyton Manning (20) and Jimmie Johnson (7) and will now add the accolade to awards won in Basketball including four NBA Most Valuable Player awards, two NBA Finals MVP awards, and NBA Rookie of the Year.
The awards have been held since 1931 yet LeBron James becomes just the third Basketball player to win it, joining Michael Jordan and Larry Bird (who James recently passed to become the 29th highest scorer in NBA history *VIDEO*). Other athletes to claim the prize are Joe Louis, Jesse Owens, Muhammad Ali, Carl Lewis, Joe Montana, Tiger Woods and Michael Phelps.
LeBron expressed his pleasure at winning the award and said that he had a calling beyond Basketball to be a role model for youth.
“I’m chasing something and it’s bigger than me as a basketball player,” James told the AP. “I believe my calling is much higher than being a basketball player. I can inspire people. Youth is huge to me. If I can get kids to look at me as a role model, as a leader, a superhero … those things mean so much, and that’s what I think I was built for. I was put here for this lovely game of basketball, but I don’t think this is the biggest role that I’m going to have.”