Miami Heat superstar LeBron James can add another distinction to his trophy case. On Thursday, James was honored as the 2013 AP Male Athlete of the Year by The Associated Press.
James, who received 31 of 96 votes, is the third basketball player in history to win the award, joining Michael Jordan and Larry Bird. He edged out Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (20) and NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson (7) to earn this year’s distinction.
While the award means a lot to James, he wants to be remembered for more than simply being a basketball player.
“I’m chasing something and it’s bigger than me as a basketball player,” James told the AP. “I believe my calling is much higher than being a basketball player. I can inspire people. Youth is huge to me. If I can get kids to look at me as a role model, as a leader, a superhero … those things mean so much, and that’s what I think I was built for. I was put here for this lovely game of basketball, but I don’t think this is the biggest role that I’m going to have.”
James led the Miami Heat to the franchise’s second-straight NBA title in 2013, earning his fourth MVP along the way. So far during the 2013-14 season, he is averaging 25.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 6.5 assists per game.