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LeBron James’ astounding 2012 just got even sweeter. The Miami Heat forward has been named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year.

After averaging 28.6 points, 10.2 rebounds and 7.4 assists during the 2011/2012 NBA season, King James capped off the season with an NBA championship and then won Olympic gold in London. The Akron native became a villain overnight thanks to the infamous “The Decision” debacle. The experience was still on his mind when he heard he was 2012’s Sportsman of the Year.

“Did I think an award like this was possible two years ago?” James told Sports Illustrated. “No, I did not. I thought I would be helping a lot of kids and raise $3 million by going on TV and saying, ‘Hey, I want to play for the Miami Heat.’ But it affected far more people than I imagined. I know it wasn’t on the level of an injury or an addiction, but it was something I had to recover from. I had to become a better person, a better player, a better father, a better friend, a better mentor and a better leader. I’ve changed, and I think people have started to understand who I really am.”

Find out more about LeBron by reading the full story here. Check out the cover and images from the story in the gallery below.

Photo: Sports Illustrated

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