[Photos: Naomi Osaka and LeBron James via commons.wikipedia.org]
Although this year marks Osaka’s first AP victory, James has won the honor three times before, in 2013, 2016 and 2018, becoming the male athlete to win the AP top spot the most times in history. Michael Jordan, a three-time winner, is the only other basketball player to win the AP award more than once.
2020 U.S. Open title holder Osaka and NBA Finals MVP James also stand out for their activism and contributions to society.
Osaka spoke out about racial injustice and police brutality, famously wearing masks with the names of victims of police violence before each U.S. Open match along with joining the protests in Minneapolis demanding justice for George Floyd.
James’ More Than a Vote organization drew more than 42,000 volunteers to work at polling stations for the November election, and pushed for turnout among Black and young voters.
“The tragic death of George Floyd, everyone getting a chance to see that, and also hearing the story of Breonna Taylor, her tragic story, and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia … my people have had enough and I have had enough,” James said. “That’s why I called for action, and with my platform, I believed I could get people to join me.”
In 2018 James founded the I PROMISE school in his hometown of Akron, Ohio and most recently broke ground on an affordable housing project for 50 families this year. This month, plans for House Three Thirty (a nod to Akron’s area code) were announced, explaining how James plans to also offer things like accessible family financial health programming, job training and a community gathering space.
Original article source: https://goodblacknews.org/2020/12/27/naomi-osaka-and-lebron-james-named-associated-press-female-and-male-athletes-of-the-year/ | Article may or may not reflect the views of KLEK 102.5 FM or The Voice of Arkansas Minority Advocacy Council