Fichtenbaum said James was the choice not only for his play but also because of his charitable work, especially involving schoolchildren in his native Akron, Ohio.
“I do think there has been some sort of closure — maybe not entirely in Cleveland, but across the nation,” Fichtenbaum said. “LeBron’s jerseys are now the No. 1-selling jerseys. I think there’s a reason for that. I think people really appreciate him for everything he can do.”
This is the 18th time James will be on SI’s cover, the magazine said. His first time was as a high school junior in February 2002, when the magazine famously dubbed him “The Chosen One” and touted how he would have been an NBA lottery pick even then.
The first 17 covers were different: Only this one has James wearing an NBA championship ring.
James said the sportsman honor was humbling considering this was year in which Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, Gabby Douglas and Missy Franklin starred at the London Olympics, Miguel Cabrera became baseball’s first Triple Crown winner in 45 years and Roger Federer captured Wimbledon for the seventh time.
“Do I need it? I don’t need it,” James said. “I don’t ever look for individual accolades. I do what I do because I love it and I want to continue to get better at it.”
The Dec. 10 issue of SI is out Wednesday, the same day James will be honored at the magazine’s Sportsman of the Year awards gala in New York.
(Photo Credit: AP)