LeBron James named finalist for Time magazine's person of the year
The Miami Heat forward is one of 25 finalists for the magazine's person of the year award, which has been around since 1927.
"It's pretty cool. It brings a smile to my face," James said of being included on the list. "I mean, I am who I am. I think I'm in a position in my life where I'm very happy and I'll continue to get better every day."
But keep in mind the award is not necessarily an honor. Time's editors are told to pick the person, group or thing that “has done the most to influence the events of the year.” So previous winners include Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. along with Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin (some of the more unusual choices include "Young People" in 1966, "The Computer" in 1982, "The Endangered Earth" in 1988 and "You" in 1996).
James has been in the headlines all year, not only for shaking up the NBA by leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh with the Miami Heat, but for the way he handled the free-agency process (particularly "The Decision," his hour-long, nationally televised announcement of that move).
Right now James appears to be a long shot to become person of the year. Time's online poll has him rated 24th on the list, just below Afghan President Hamid Karzai and just above former BP Chairman Tony Hayward. Turkey Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the current leader on the list.
Other finalists include President Obama, the Chilean miners, Lady Gaga, Sarah Palin, Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert and "The Unemployed American."
-- Chuck Schilken
Photo: LeBron James. Credit: Rafael Suanes / US Presswire