LeBron James wins SI’s Sportperson of the Year

Basketball star LeBron James has been named by sports magazine Sports Illustrated as the 2016 Sportsperson of the Year.

The 31-year old Cleveland Cavaliers star confirmed his place as one of the greatest basketball players ever as he led the Cavs to a 3-1 comeback against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.

He was also very prominent off the court, donating $2.5 million to the Muhammad Ali exhibit at the recently opened Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington. He was also very vocal against gun violence and racism in America.

“It’s never about the individual,” James, 31, said during his acceptance speech at the awards ceremony at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. “It’s about the people behind him.”

“This award is for my wife. This award is for my mother. This award is for my three kids back home,” James said. “This award is for the great Muhammad Ali, for Bill Russell, for Jim Brown, for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar … So as I stand up here, as the recipient of the 2016 Sportsperson of the Year, this isn’t about me, this is much bigger than me and I just want to say thank you to everyone.”

The award was presented to him by rapper Jay-Z, who praised him highly for his generosity and his impact on the society.

“LeBron James has made all of those around him better on and off the court. We acknowledge and recognize all he has done for the game,” he said. “Aside from the fierce competitor and the dominating basketball player who is LeBron James … The individual philanthropist, the man, LeBron James is even better than the basketball player. It’s hard to believe.”

LeBron James and Jay-Z

It’s LeBron’s second time of winning the award, joining golfer Tiger Woods as the only athletes to have won the award twice.

Also honored on the night was Michael Phelps, who was named the greatest Olympian ever. “I feel like I’m on top of the world,” Phelps said during his acceptance speech. “I was able to get married this year, have my first child. I literally feel like the luckiest man in the world.”

LeBron also covered the latest edition of Sports Illustrated. He wore a white jacket with a safety pin, an item that has been interpreted as a symbol of safety for women and minorities since Donald Trump got elected.

LeBron James on cover of Sports Illustrated