Los Angeles Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James named AP male athlete of the decade

The honours continue to roll in for Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James.

With the 2010s coming to a close in just a matter of days, James has been named The Associated Press male athlete of the decade.

LeBron, who is in his 17th NBA season, beat out New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt by a wide margin to earn the honour. He joins Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky and Arnold Palmer as athletes to have earned this distinction.

And what a decade it's been for James.

From 2010-19, LeBron spent 4.5 seasons with Cleveland Cavaliers, four with the Miami Heat and is now midway through his second year as a Los Angeles Laker. He racked up plenty of accolades over this span as well, including:

  • Three league MVP awards (2010, 2012, 2013)
  • Three NBA championships (2012, 2013, 2016)
  • Three NBA Finals MVPs (2012, 2013, 2016)
  • Eight-straight NBA Finals appearances (2011-2018)
  • 10 NBA All-Star selections
  • 10-time All-NBA (9x First-Team, 1x Third-Team)
  • Five-time All-Defence (4x First-Team, 1x Second-Team)

James told the AP, "A decade ago, I just turned 25. I'm about to be 35 and I'm just in a better (place) in my life and have a better understanding of what I want to get out of life."

In his 17th season, James is averaging 25.5 points, a league-leading 10.8 assists and 7.5 rebounds per game for a Lakers team that has held serve as the West's No. 1 seed up to this point in the year.

The soon-to-be 35-year-old is also within 300 points of surpassing Kobe Bryant for third all-time on the NBA's all-time leading scorer's list. For perspective, LeBron entered the decade at 124th all-time.

He's still over 5,000 points behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for first all-time but as he edges closer, he admitted that it's something that he acknowledges as a possibility.

"I would be lying if I said I don't see it. Obviously I'm not trying to say, 'OK, well if I play this amount of time, if I average this' ... I'm not doing that because I've never done that with my career. I've always just kind of let it happen. Whatever happens, happens. But I see it. I do see it."

LeBron and the Lakers have one final game in this decade as they are set to host Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks.

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