Grading the LeBron James SI Sportsman of the Year Photo

Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistDecember 4, 2012


LeBron James graces the cover of yet another magazine after winning the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year Award, and to nobody's surprise, there are a few interesting things that it's got going on.

First of all, after coming out of 2012 with about 482 separately terrific achievements, it should be a surprise to nobody that LeBron is this year's Sportsman of the Year. The competition was nearly nonexistent.

That's not to bash on LeBron; just to say that the rest of the sports world would have had to step up their game to compete with a guy who won an NBA MVP, Finals MVP, NBA Championship, a bushelful of ESPYs, an Olympic Gold Medal and 113 electoral votes in the recent presidential election.

The next best thing to LeBron would have been a washed-up Michael Phelps who only won four gold and two silver medals in the Olympics. Psssh.

So congratulations, LeBron, you won everything else this year; now let's talk about the actual magazine cover, which is just a bit strange.


Attire: C+

Far be it from me to criticize such a fly dude on what he's wearing. However, there are a few things about LeBron's get-up that I'm not down with.

First, and really the most confusing part of the entire picture, what's up with that tie?

Perhaps there's some sort of strange style of tie that I've yet to encounter in my life that only Sportsmen of the Year are privy to, but I'm not digging the seemingly knot-less tie that lies flat against the collar. Plus, that tie bar is insanely high, which also might be more tie ignorance on my part.

The only other thing I can say I don't like is the all-black look. It gives off a vibe that he's still trying to be a villain, when that's definitely not the case.

Plus, it reminds me of those black hats with black logos, something that was an insane idea from day one.

Of course, it could be a lot worse. He could be wearing all white.


Subtlety: A+

He's not decked out in a Miami Heat uniform, he doesn't have 17 gold medals strung about his neck and he isn't running around a gym with a basketball in his hands while somebody in the background is holding up a LeBron James sign.

At this point in his career, we all know who LeBron is. If you don't recognize him by his face, then you're probably in the minority.

That's why I can give him props for breaking such a long streak of Sportsman of the Year Award winners over-obviously pointing out who they are with jerseys, logos or just something related to their sport in the cover. The last time that happened was when David Robinson and Tim Duncan may or may not have been replaced by cardboard cutouts.

Instead, all LeBron has is a small glint of gold around his finger with his brand-new NBA Championship Ring.


Instant Classic Feel: C

There's something about LeBron James and his magazine covers that makes it pretty easy to tell when ones will be remembered and which ones are just magazine covers lost to the annals of time.

Really, there are only three or four of LeBron's covers that are easy to recall off the top of your head (if you internalize this stupid, pointless stuff like I do), and this one doesn't really give off that vibe when you first look at it.

Of course, his most iconic came back when he was in high school with the words "The Chosen One" plastered across the cover. Then, he and Sebastian Telfair did a Slam cover in the Kevin Garnett-Stephon Marbury style from a few years before.

The only other two real iconic covers he's done have been the Vogue cover, which was accused of being racially insensitive, and the "Hi Haters!" Slam cover from after Miami's championship.

This one is good, and it's slightly memorable, but it's no historic cover.


Overall Grade: B

It's not a terrible cover, and it's not one of the classics either. And really, that's just saying it's another magazine cover.

There are a few things that are really compelling and interesting in the photo that I like, but in the end, there's not enough to it to make it really an amazing piece of art or history.

You know when it's not even the best cover he's been on all year that there aren't going to be many people pointing to this one as iconic.