#BlackExcellence: LeBron James And Serena Williams Named The Associated Press’ Athletes Of The Decade

The king and queen reign supreme as the decade’s best.

Published January 2, 2020

Written by Jarod Hector

The Associated Press announced LeBron James and Serena Williams are the male and female athletes of the decade. 

No two athletes dominated the decade quite like this pair. 

Related: LeBron James Already Ahead Of Michael Jordan On NBA All-Time Scoring List, Now At 33K Career Points

LeBron played in eight straight NBA Finals from the 2010-2011 season through the 2017-2018 season and won three titles (‘12, ‘13, ‘16). His three AP Athlete of the Year awards came in the decade (‘13, ‘16, 18).  He won three of his four MVP awards during the decade (‘10, ‘12, ‘13), and no other NBA player won more games over the last 10 years than he did.

Related: Tennis.com Names Serena Williams Their Women’s Player Of The Decade

Serena was even more dominant. She won 12 of her 23 Grand Slam singles titles during the decade (Australian Open - ‘10, ‘15, ‘17 French Open - ‘13, ‘15 Wimbledon - ‘10, ‘12, ‘15, ‘16 US Open - ‘12, ‘13, ‘14). No other woman won more than three. From February 18, 2013 to September 11, 2016 she was the #1 ranked player in the world. Those 186 consecutive weeks as #1 are tied with Steffi Graf for the most all-time. It was the sixth time in her career she has been ranked #1. She won three AP Athlete of the Year Awards during the decade (‘13, ‘15, ‘18). 

LeBron beat out New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for his award and Serena edged Simone Biles for hers. 

“You add another 10 years of learning and adversity, pitfalls, good, great, bad, and any smart person who wants to grow will learn from all those experiences,” James, who turned 35 Monday (December 30), 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.”

“When the history books are written, it could be that the great Serena Williams is the greatest athlete of all time. ... I like to call it the ‘Serena Superpowers’ — that champion’s mindset. Irrespective of the adversity and the odds that are facing her, she always believes in herself,” said Stacey Allaster, CEO of the WTA from 2009-15 and now chief executive for professional tennis at the U.S. Tennis Association, which runs the U.S. Open. “Whether it was health issues; coming back; having a child; almost dying from that — she has endured it all and she is still in championship form. Her records speak for themselves.”

LeBron and Serena both overcame humble beginnings to become shining examples of sports excellence and the embodiment of Black excellence. They are among a handful of the most recognized people in the world. 

Congratulations to both on this prestigious honor.

Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images and Al Bello/Getty Images

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