Several members of the Ishpeming High School Football Team were among those honored Wednesday night as Sports Illustrated honored LeBron James as the 2012 Sportsman of the Year at a ceremony in New York City.
Past winners include amazing athletes: Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Joe Montana, Cal Ripken Jr. and Tom Brady. The 2011 Sportsman of the Year Mike Krzyzewski spoke about James’s accomplishments in 2012 at the awards presentation. “You are in a position of mastery,” Krzyzewski said. “That’s where you are with your game. There’s nobody in the history of the game of basketball who has been more unique than you.”
“This is an unbelievable moment for myself … but what I do, the way I approach the game, who I am off the floor, awards doesn’t define it,”James said.
James sat down with Sports Illustrated senior writer Dan Patrick to discuss the award. When Patrick asked what advice James would give his 17-year-old self, when he entered the NBA, James said, “There are going to be a lot of ups and downs. There are going to be a lot of expectations. There are going to be a lot of pitfalls. But it’s how you handle those situations, how you come back from those pitfalls, how you come back from those situations, that’s going to define you. I would not tell him to avoid those hardships, to avoid those pitfalls in life because at the end of the day that’s going to make you become who you are.”
Also honored were the 2012 Sports Illustrated Kids SportsKids of the Year, Conner and Cayden Long from White House, TN. The brothers’ inspiring story of brotherly love stems from their desire to compete side-by-side in sports, even though Cayden was born with cerebral palsy and cannot talk or walk on his own. Since 2011, the brothers have competed in more than a dozen triathlons.
Of interest to Upper Michigan was the recognition of the Ishpeming High School Football team. It has been a long and rewarding year for the team – and Senior Eric Dompierre. The 19-year-old was granted a waiver from the Michigan High School Athletic Association to allow him to play although the group banned students older than 18 from sports. Not only did he play, but the Ishpeming Hematites won a state title at the end of the season. To cap off the year, the team was selected as the winner of a fan vote among the HS football teams profiled by SI.com’s Underdogs video series. Ishpeming High School received a trip to New York to attend the Sportsman of the Year event and a $25,000 program grant from Sports Illustrated and POWERADE