NBA: LeBron James named Time Magazine's Athlete of Year

Los Angeles Lakers megastar LeBron James has been named Time magazine's Athlete of the Year for 2020.

During a season shortened by COVID-19 and eventually completed in a ‘bubble’, James led the Lakers to their first NBA Championship since 2010, averaging a staggering 27.6 points, 10.8 rebounds and 8.8 assists per game on his way to earning the Finals Most Valuable Player Award and his fourth NBA title.

Off the court, the 35-year-old has also been a vocal advocate for social justice, working at the forefront of the NBA's campaign for the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement and launching a non-profit organisation to encourage African Americans to vote.

"After nearly two decades in the NBA, James has fully embraced that his talent on the court is a means to achieving something greater off it," writes Time's Sean Gregory.  

"And this year, more than in any before it, he showed why he is unrivaled in both.

"James increased his leverage and influence, and got deep-pocketed owners, fellow athletes and fans the world over engaged directly with democracy. 

“And through it all, he spoke personally to the anguish of Black Americans, channelling pain and outrage into a plan of action.”

James' actions inspired a host of world-class athletes to join the fight, inspiring Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton to kneel before races, and rising tennis ace Naomi Osaka to wear masks honouring African Americans who had been killed in recent years during her run to the US Open title in September.

"Not only is he the best player, but he has the most powerful voice,” Osaka said.

Meanwhile, the four-person shortlist for Time's Person of the Year features US President Donald Trump, President-elect Joe Biden, frontline healthcare workers and Dr Anthony Fauci, and the Movement for Racial Justice.