Tennis phenom Serena Williams and NBA superstar Lebron James were selected by The Associated Press as the Female and Male Athletes of the Decade this weekend after a vote by AP member sports editors and AP beat writers.
Williams has won 12 Grand Slam titles over the past decade, more than any woman has won over the past 10 seasons, made the final at 19 of the 33 majors she competed in and she even won the Australian Open in 2017 while pregnant. Serena boasts 72 singles titles in her career and has won 37 in the past 10 years. In addition to an extraordinary professional decade, Williams returned to the court eight months after giving birth despite multiple medical scares.
“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, former CEO of the WTA and current chief executive for professional tennis at the U.S. Tennis Association. “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,” Allaster continued. “Her records speak for themselves.”
Lebron James’ last decade goes as follows: leaves Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat and became a champion, went back to his beloved northeast Ohio to deliver on another title promise, left for the Los Angeles Lakers and played in eight straight finals. No NBA player has won more games or MVP awards over the last decade than James. He started a school and married his high school sweetheart, all since 2009.
“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 said of the award. “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.”
Congratulations to Serena Williams and Lebron James on becoming the Associated Press’ Athletes Of The Decade!