Miami Heat star LeBron James had as great of a year as anyone could imagine in 2012. Not only did he finally capture his first NBA title which had been eluding him for the early part of his career, but he added to his trophy case with the NBA MVP, NBA Finals MVP and helped lead Team USA to a gold medal in the London Olympics.
In 2012, LeBron did it all. That’s why it came as no surprise that he was named Sports Illustrated’s 2012 Sportsman of the Year.
For LeBron, 2012 was about more than the hardware. It was about turning an important corner in his career and finding his path towards redemption.
“It’s very humbling,” James said, per ESPN. “It was a long journey…. Going through what I went through my first year here [in Miami], making the transition from Cleveland and ultimately winning a championship, it makes it sweeter.
“It’s a challenge when everything you do or say can be used against you. The thing that’s helped me is that I’ve been watched and followed since I was 16 years old. They praise you and you make one mistake and they bring you down. They praise you again and then bring you down again so I’ve had a lot of hardships, but it all makes it sweeter in the end.”
LeBron regained the top spot in NBA jersey sales, so his path to popularity has led him back to the top.
If it’s redemption that LeBron was seeking, he achieved his ultimate goal this year. For LeBron James, 2012 was a perfect year and could go down as one of the most significant of his career.