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Lakers’ LeBron James named AP Male Athlete of the Decade

Lakers, LeBron James

As it shouldn’t come as much shock, LeBron James was just announced as the AP athlete of the decade. James beat out Tom Brady, Usain Bolt, Lionel Messi, and Michael Phelps for the prodigious award.

James deserves this award for two reason. For what he has done from an accomplishment standpoint and how he impacted the NBA’s current landscape. In the 2010’s decade, James’ accomplishments would allow him to retire today. He won three MVPs, three championships and was named Finals MVP in all of them. He reached the All-Star game each year of the 2010s while making All-NBA first team each year except this past year (third team.)

But what he’s done off the floor is perhaps more impactful. He formed two super teams, putting the power and onus to the players. His first super-team in 2010 with the Miami Heat was a move that brought him much criticism. Until that point, NBA players left their respective teams to join an organization that would give them more money. James linking with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh at a reduced rate was mind-boggling. Ironically, this move set the template for how the current NBA operates from trades to free agent moves.

James, who turns 35 Monday, will always be in the discussion of whether he’s the greatest NBA player of all time. It’s an argument that will never end, especially between Generation X and Millennials. However, what can’t be disputed is what his impact on the game has been this decade.

Congrats to LeBron James.