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LeBron James earned one more award to top off a superb 2012 on Wednesday, as he was named Male Athlete of the Year by USA Basketball. The award caps a banner year for James, who led Team USA to a gold medal at the London Olympics, won his first NBA championship and Finals MVP with the Miami Heat, and captured his third NBA MVP award.
"It's an honor that I have been named the 2012 USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year," James said in an official statement. 'It's always an honor to represent my country. I never do it to be recognized or to receive an award, I do it because I love my country and the game of basketball. It is an honor to be recognized with this award, it's humbling."
James started in all eight of Team USA's games, averaging 13.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 1.38 steals. He shot 60 percent from the field during the London Games, and led Team USA with 45 assists.
It was the third Olympic medal for James, who won gold in 2008 and bronze in 2004. Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski said Wednesday that James was "the central figure on this team," calling him "our leader, our best player, our playmaker."
Only Michael Jordan had achieved the feat of an NBA title, MVP, Finals MVP, and Olympic gold medal before James did it in 2012.
James was also named the NBA's Eastern Conference Player of the Month for December on Wednesday, the second month in a row he has won the honor. He averaged 27.5 points, 8.1 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 2.00 steals in December, shooting 55 percent.
Only two other players in NBA history have averaged 27, 8, and 7 while shooting 55 percent in one month: Hall of Famers Larry Bird (March 1987) and Wilt Chamberlain (February 1967). That's pretty good company.
Among his highlights in December were a triple-double in Washington on Dec. 4 (26, 13, and 11) and a Dec. 18 game against Minnesota when James scored 22 points with 11 assists, 7 rebounds, 4 blocks and zero turnovers.
The Heat went 10-5 in December, and lead the Eastern Conference with a 22-8 record.