Miami Heat's LeBron James: Sports Illustrated 2012 Sportsman of Year

Mike Raffone@theemikeCorrespondent IIDecember 4, 2012

2012 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year LeBron James
2012 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year LeBron JamesMike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Thanks to yesterday's Sports Illustrated announcement, those of us who decided two years ago they would never forget his "Decision" should have immediately decided to bury the hatchet.

Other disgruntled NBA purists should have agreed to stop grunting every time they hear his name mentioned.

Still too many other sports fans, who have yet to forgive and forget, should have immediately removed his bearded photo from the center of their favorite dartboard.

And, spurned Cleveland Cavalier fans should have finally committed to put down their sticks and pulled down the LeBron James effigies hanging in their backyards and basements.

Because it's now time for every sports fan, whether hailing from Miami, Cleveland, Boston or Beijing for that matter, to lift their glasses and raise their voices to toast the 2012 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the year LeBron James. 

After what we witnessed from this Nike Witness over the past year, it's only fitting that Sports Illustrated selected this Chosen One to grace the cover of its December 10, 2012 issue.

James joins an elite group of basketball royalty like Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, John Wooden, Mike Krzyzewski and Heat teammate Dwyane Wade, whom S.I. has also recognized for their impressive work both on and off the hardwood.  

Arguably the best basketball player on the planet, the King finally got his first championship ring this June, and he proudly brandishes his diamond-encrusted momento on next week's cover.


Overcoming two seasons of heckling and waves of angst from hardened NBA fans in arenas, media outlets, bars, gymnasiums and lunch rooms around the country, James soared above all the naysayers and haters and recorded one of the most brilliant individual years ever in team sports.

2012 saw James earn his third NBA MVP Award, second Olympic Gold medal and first NBA Finals MVP and coveted NBA Championship.

Though James has regretted the manner in which he departed Cleveland to take his talents to Miami Beach, no one (whether from Cleveland, Boston, OKC or LA) could assail the way No. 6 has dominated the game of basketball over the past year.

Kudos to this King who comported himself regally in spite of all the fan disdain and media scrutiny he has faced since leaving Cleveland.

As a former, fervent loather of LeBron, I've become a fan and have admired and respected not only how he's earned his crown, but also how he's worn it.

Long live this King and raise the Dwight Howard pinata in my backyard. Lol.

Straight talk. No static.

MIKE—aka Mike Raffone—the ultimate talking head in sports!