Dec 23, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) drives to the basket as Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford (15) defends during the second half at American Airlines Arena. The Heat won 121-119 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James named AP 2013 Male Athlete of the Year

For just the third time in the 83-year history of the award, a basketball player has been named as the AP’s Male Athlete of the Year.

Miami Heat superstar LeBron James will join Michael Jordan and Larry Bird as the only other basketball recipients of the highly coveted award.

James received 31 of the 96 votes cast with Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning coming in second, receiving 20 votes. Nascar driver Jimmie Johnson placed third with 15 votes while a handful of other candidates also received at least a single vote.

The award is the first for James, meaning he’ll need to capture a few more before his playing days come to an end to match Jordan who received the honor three times (1991, 1992, 1993). Larry Bird, meanwhile, was voted as the AP’s Male Athlete of the Year in 1986. James’ honor is the first in two decades for an NBA athlete.

A four-time MVP and two-time NBA Champion, James joined Serena Williams as the 2013 Athlete of the Year award winners.

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