Lebron James’ Courage, Persistence, Patience & Dedication To Social Justice Makes Him TIME “Athlete Of The Year”

Ahead of the reveal of the 2020 TIME Person of the Year, happening tonight during the first-ever “TIME Person of the Year” broadcast special on NBC at 10PM ET, TIME has announced that LeBron James is the publication’s 2020 Athlete of the Year.

READ MORE: LeBron James Is Unapologetic Black Excellence & You Can’t Handle It

The 2020 Athlete of the Year cover features an amazing painting by 14-year-old Tyler Gordon.

In addition to Person of the Year, TIME’s selection for the Businessperson of the Year and the Guardians of the Year will also be revealed during tonight’s telecast, which will feature an exclusive performance by BTS of the song “Dynamite.”

READ: The NBA’s Best Wins Another Title, While Inspiring Historic Activism

TIME’s Sean Gregory writes:

After nearly two decades in the NBA, [LeBron] James has fully embraced that his talent on the court is a means to achieving something greater off it. And this year, more than in any before it, he showed why he is unrivaled in both.

On the future of athlete activism, James tells TIME:

It would never, ever go back to us just playing our respective sports. It will never be that way for as long as I’m around. And hopefully, I’ve inspired enough athletes that even when I’m gone, that legacy will carry on.

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On how James has inspired other athletes around the world, F1 driver Lewis Hamilton tells TIME:

When I saw across the pond that another top athlete was also fighting for similar causes, I knew, O.K., I’m not alone here.

 On James working with owners and the league to involve them in encouraging voting in the election, NBA commissioner Adam Silver tells TIME:

LeBron was a calming voice, but one that I didn’t view as oppositional. I viewed it as, ‘All right, everyone, we have certain celebrity and reach that we bring to the table, team owners obviously have enormous resources and their own network of associations. Working together, we can accomplish even more.

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.