LeBron James: Why He Doesn't Deserve Time's Person of the Year

Nathaniel UyFeatured ColumnistNovember 15, 2010

LeBron James: Why He Doesn't Deserve Time's Person of the Year

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    Larry Busacca/Getty Images

    LeBron James claimed to be humbled when news broke out that he was a finalist for Time Magazine's Person of the Year

    "That's just crazy," James told ESPN. "What those guys did, the courage and what they stood for, I should be nowhere near that list. Nowhere near it."

    Well LeBron, you're probably not the only one who thinks you don't deserve be on the list., let alone win the award.

    This past year, LeBron may have made plenty of headlines.  But he's absolutely done nothing to deserve further recognition for any of his accomplishments good or bad.

10. Can't Be Because of the Scope of the Decision

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    LeBron's choice to broadcast his free agent destination by partaking in an hour-long ESPN special dubbed, "The Decision" was widely criticized as a shameless attempt at self promotion.

    He attempted to guise his announcement under a philanthropic intent with a donation of approximately $2.5 million to the Boys & Girls Club.

    But that charity was not the only one to profit from his decision.  LeBron's interview with Jim Gray helped promote LeBron's sponsors and helped his marketing team of friends put money into their own pockets—inevitably making already rich people, even richer.

    That is hardly a definition of an event that influenced the world.  Yes, people keep talking about his promotional stunt but it only gave us all temporary entertainment and something to talk about.  Nothing else.

9. Can't Be the Cleveland Backlash

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    After leaving his hometown of Cleveland hanging, there was obvious backlash from his defection. 

    But this was not the first time a person has reneged on a personal commitment.  Nor was it the first time an athlete has taken off for different pastures.

    The city of Cleveland burned his jerseys and owner Dan Gilbert wrote an angry ex-girlfriend letter for all of the world to see.

    That's news that was somewhat compelling.  However, there's nothing global about it.

    The Colts stunned the sports world with their overnight departure from Baltimore, yet we don't see them on the list of nominees from 1984.

8. Not the Race Card Statement

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    Before the NBA season started, the effects of "The Decision" continued to linger.

    As a result, LeBron said that race had to do with all the negativity that surrounded his announcement and his decision to take his talents to South Beach.

    If that were the case, why is Floyd Mayweather not on the list of nominees?  Or, better yet how about Manny Pacquiao?

    At least Pacquiao made news as both an elite fighter and a budding politician in his native Philippines.

7. Can't Be Because of the Nike Commercial

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    Think LeBron deserves to be Person of the Year because of his highly debated Nike commercial?

    There's a king of Nike commercials and he's also the best ever to play the game.  His name is Michael Jordan.

    Where's the love for MJ and his contributions to all sports-related news?  Jordan was a superstar who dominated the 90s with NBA championships.

    In 1993, he made plenty of news winning an NBA title, dealing with gambling allegations, a premature retirement, pursuing a baseball career and really awesome commercials.

    Here we are a generation later and LeBron is getting too much news already.  Now with that nomination, that's a slap in the face to Mike and all the great ones before him.

6. It All Adds Up to Nothing

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    It's obvious that individually these LeBron-related events from 2010 were topics of interest for most sports fans.

    Collectively, they have even more power.  For us to consider that LeBron's hand played a role in some of the biggest events of this year is just a very tough pill to swallow.

    People are interested in LeBron for the drama.  That's all. 

    Think of him as a walking reality show that people find captivating.  That's hardly someone who deserves to be the Person of the Year.

5. He Is Not the Face Of 2010

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    It's true that there are widely perceived heroes and villains that have won Time Magazine's Person of the Year award.

    Adolf Hitler was a previous winner and so was Martin Luther King, Jr. 

    But LeBron.  Really?  Let's break this down.

    In 2008, newly elected president Barack Obama was the winner.  Makes sense.

    Last year, further economical woes led to a win for Fed chairman Ben Bernanke.  Again, it makes sense.

    Now this year, Time  is seriously toying with the idea of putting LeBron among some of history's biggest names with his nomination. 

    There's no other way to put this—LeBron has not been the face of 2010. 

4. He's Just a Basketball Player

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    Previous winners include a list of world leaders, politicians, scientists and people who have impacted history for better or for worse—there have been no previous athlete winners. 

    In this generation of the Internet and with sports constantly being intertwined into society and our daily lives, sooner or later a big-time athlete could become a winner.  

    But there's no possible way that this award will go to LeBron James, who has been nothing but a basketball player, especially since he has done very little outside of his own sport.

    A quick look back at history brings to mind a few more deserving names in the world of sports that never won this award.

    How about Muhammad Ali for his dramatic influence in boxing and dodging the Vietnam War?  Or, Lance Armstrong for his fight against cancer and Tour de France win?

3. It Will Continue to Feed His Ego

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    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    His head is already getting bigger.

    This nomination was met with surprise, but a win could do more damage.

    Just be warned because a Time's Person of the Year, may create an even bigger monster.

    At 17 years old, he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated.  Now at 25 years old, he could be on the verge of making the cover of Time.

    For the sake of basketball, let's just stop giving him too much recognition.

2. There Are Better Nominees

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    Who is LeBron up against?

    Among the list of 25 finalists, there are plenty of more deserving candidates.

    Barack Obama is once again on the list.  But my personal favorites are the Chilean miners and "the Unemployed American."

    If LeBron is viewed as a perennial winner then Time might as well throw in a nomination for the Kardashians. 

    At least they've been linked to NBA championships as well as a Super Bowl.  That's already a lot more winning than LeBron has been associated with. 

    You may say that Kardashians are nothing but divas with a flair for looking pretty in front of cameras. 

    Hold on a second, that's exactly what LeBron has been.

1. He's Still Just a Kid

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    Maturity.  That has to be a prerequisite for this award, and he hasn't shown it yet.

    At 6'8" and 250 pounds,. he may look like a much older man but at only 25 years old, it's time to deal with the fact that he's still a youngster.

    He makes mistakes, plenty of them—like youngsters often do—and we can't reward him for it.

    That's a photo of me, my buddies and 'Bron from back in the day, when LeBron was literally just a kid.  

    I think back to those times because I wish for him to just have a fresh start.  Sadly, that's not how it works.

    Before he was even a senior in high school, ESPN already billed him as "The Chosen One" and said he could be drafted first overall, if the NBA allowed him to declare for the draft before his senior year. 

    Let's all pause for a second and take the blame for what LeBron has become—fans and media inflated his ego.

    Yes, he's a great athlete, someone that has the potential to become a great player.  But let's not fool ourselves, he's not even close to being one of the best ever.

    And he certainly doesn't deserve to be Time's Person of the Year.