Being named TIME's "Person of the Year" is one of the greatest irrelevant honors someone can receive. Past winners include Ted Turner, The Endangered Earth (actually "Planet of the Year" -- take that, Neptune), American Women (how's that for paternalism?), Gandhi, and even You.
As you can tell from that list of honorees, even being named a nominee is quite an accomplishment. So you can bet that the news that LeBron James(notes) has been named to the shortlist has taken the NBA world by storm. As LeBron told the Associated Press, he is quite humbled:
The Miami Heat forward says "it's too much" and insisted that he's not the right choice for the award, with the winner to be revealed next month. Other finalists this year include the trapped Chilean miners, President Barack Obama, Lady Gaga and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The award, given out since 1927, is bestowed on a person or group who "has done the most to influence the events of the year."
Someone should probably tell LeBron that being named "Person of the Year" isn't always a positive thing -- just ask Joseph Stalin (two-time recipient) and Adolf Hilter. While LeBron is certainly not in their class of terrible, something tells me that his winning would be for the fact that he turned most sports fans against him. That's an accomplishment, I suppose, but probably not something he wants to be known for.
Then again, there is no way that LeBron James had more of an effect on the world than other nominees like President Obama, Mark Zuckerberg, or The Unemployed American. In a way, LeBron is right: This is too much for a basketball player. Let this be a reminder that sports, while important, do not have quite as large an effect on our lives as we sometimes like to think.