Serena Williams and LeBron James Named the Associated Press' Athletes of the Decade
Simone Biles and Tom Brady were the runner-ups for the male and female title, respectively
The news outlet announced over the weekend that Williams, 38, edged out Olympic gymnast Simone Biles to take the title for the females, while James, 35, handily beat out New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for the men.
Swimmer Katie Ledeck placed third behind Williams and Biles, followed by ski racers Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin. On the men’s side, Olympian Usain Bolt of Jamaica was third, soccer superstar Lionel Messi was fourth and retired U.S. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps placed fifth.
In the past decade, Williams won a dozen Grand Slam singles titles and sat atop of the Women’s Tennis Association rankings for over three years in a row.
Off the tennis court, Williams married Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian in 2016. The following year, the couple welcomed daughter Alexis Olympia, 2.
“She’s been my idol growing up,” Biles, 22, told the AP of Williams. “She’s remained humble. She’s stayed true to herself and her character and I think that’s really neat about an athlete. Once you start winning, some get cocky, but she’s stayed true to herself, win or lose.”
When asked about the possibility of retiring from tennis at a panel during Advertising Week New York in September, Williams laughed she’ll “transfer out, you know, in 20 years, not anytime soon.” The audience erupted in applause.
James, meanwhile, has scored more points than anybody else in the NBA in the last 10 years. While starting the decade at 124th in the league’s all-time scoring list, he’s now within reach of surpassing Kobe Bryant for third place (Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are second and first, respectively).
James and his wife, Savannah James, have three children together: LeBron “Bronny” James Jr., 15, Bryce Maximus, 12, and Zhuri, 5. The couple married in 2013.
“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 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.”
Last month, James set another record in the NBA when he became the first player in league history to log a triple-double against all 30 NBA teams. The triple-double accomplishment is when a player records double-digit numbers in three different stat categories during a game.
Following the game, the NBA legend told ESPN that he “had no idea” he had achieved the history-making stat.
“Coach [Frank] Vogel came in here and said congratulations,” he said. “I was like, I thought he was joking about my seven turnovers because I’ve been taking care of the ball so much. He said first player in NBA history to have a triple-double versus 30 teams, every team, so I was like, ‘OK. That’s pretty cool.’”