When LeBron James learned he was Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year, the Miami Heat star was surprised. Here's a look at some great shots of three-time MVP and 2012 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year LeBron James, from his days as a mischievous little boy to now. LeBron James gets this award because he finally figured out what to do. This story appears in the Dec. "LeBron kind of made it easy on us," Fichtenbaum said. Sports Group editor Paul Fichtenbaum said one thing separating James this year was that when Miami needed him most, "he came up the biggest" in particular, Game 4 of the second-round series at Indiana and Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals at Boston.