• Basketball

LeBron wins AP Male Athlete of the Year

ESPN staff
December 26, 2013
LeBron James won a second NBA championship and fourth MVP award this year © Getty Images

NBA star LeBron James has been announced as The Associated Press' 2013 Male Athlete of the Year, becoming the third basketball player to win the award.

Miami Heat player James received 31 of the 96 votes cast in a poll of news organisations. NFL quarterback Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos trailed him with 20 votes.

The award caps off a spectacular year for James, who won a second NBA championship and a fourth MVP award.

Past winners of the award, which has been handed out annually since 1931, include Jesse Owens, Muhammad Ali, Carl Lewis, Tiger Woods and Michael Phelps. Serena Williams won the AP Female Athlete of the Year award.

James follows in the footsteps of NBA players Michael Jordan and Larry Bird.

"I don't think I've changed much this year," James said. "I've just improved and continued to improve on being more than just as a basketball player. I've matured as a leader, as a father, as a husband, as a friend."

James becomes a free agent in 2014, though he insists he has not yet made a decision about his future.

"I'm so zoned in on what my task is here this year that it's hard to think about anything else," James said. "A guy the other day asked me what I'm going to do for New Year's, and I haven't even thought about that."

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