Since 1927, Time Magazine has annually profiled their Person of the Year that “for better or for worse, …has done the most to influence the events of the year.” Past recipients include Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Adolf Hitler, Queen Elizabeth II, Martin Luther King Jr., Ronald Reagan, and Barack Obama. Now, LeBron James can add his name to the list of nominees in 2010.
Yes, that’s right. LeBron James has been nominated for Time’s Person of the Year! Not NBA player of the year, not athlete of the year, PERSON of the Year!
Obviously a nomination is not nearly the same thing as actually winning the award, but even consideration is a huge honor. Considering that NO professional athlete has ever won it, the nomination alone seems pretty incredulous. Men like Jackie Robinson or Tommie Smith, whose impacts went far beyond their sports accomplishments, never had this award bestowed upon them. Neither did icons like Muhammad Ali or Michael Jordan who each had immense cultural influence, though in very different ways.
LeBron is an incredible basketball player, and he had a huge impact on the sports world over the summer. “The Decision” has become a household phrase, in reference to the over the top hour long special announcing his intentions to play in Miami. Yet, his impact on the real world (outside of Cleveland) has been practically non-existent. Nobody in Germany or Australia is living his life any differently because of LeBron James. For that matter, no non-basketball fan anywhere has altered his routine on account of “The King.”
LeBron is not the only remarkable nominee. Lady Gaga also made the list. It would seem Time’s qualifying criteria has deteriorated over the years.
For his part, James also told the Associated Press that the nomination was undue. “That’s just crazy… What those guys did, the courage and what they stood for, I should be nowhere near that list. Nowhere near it”