The hometown kid officially became the hometown hero this year. In 2016, four-time NBA MVP LeBron James led Ohio’s Cleveland Cavaliers to the team’s first-ever championship victory. It was Cleveland’s first professional sports championship in 52 years.
In a 4–3 series win over the defending champion, California’s Golden State Warriors, James led the Cavs back from a 3–1 series deficit to the historic victory. This was the first time any NBA team overcame such a deficit in the finals. James was named series MVP and led all players in points, rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals.
Winning a title—his third overall (he won two with the Miami Heat)—capped a historic season for James. He also became the 10th player in NBA history to score 27,000 points in a career. He is the youngest player to reach this milestone. In February, the 12-time All-Star surpassed Kobe Bryant to become the all-time leading scorer in the NBA All-Star Game. James’s other achievements this year include making the All-NBA First Team and being named the Cleveland Sports Award Professional Athlete of the Year.
While James has made basketball history this season, he has also made headlines for his work off the court. He continues to work with his I Promise program, which was created as part of the LeBron James Family Foundation to increase high school graduation rates and college attendance in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. The I Promise Institute was launched this year in partnership with the University of Akron. The institute was created to support students who will attend the university for free thanks to a multimillion-dollar donation James made last year. James also recently donated $2.5 million to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture to support an exhibit honoring boxing legend Muhammad Ali.
For his history-making feats, leadership on and off the court, and unwavering commitment to helping others, LeBron James is a nominee for TFK’s 2016 Person of the Year.
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