DAPHNE, Alabama — American basketball player LeBron James, who earned the NBA Finals MVP award for leading the Miami Heat to its second consecutive championship, and South Korean Inbee Park, who became the first golfer to win the first three …
DAPHNE, Alabama — American basketball player LeBron James, who earned the NBA Finals MVP award for leading the Miami Heat to its second consecutive championship, and South Korean Inbee Park, who became the first golfer to win the first three majors of the season since 1950, were chosen as the United States Sports Academy’s June Athletes of the Month in worldwide online voting.
James earned the Finals MVP after delivering a magnificent 37-point performance to sink the San Antonio Spurs in the deciding Game 7 of the championship series. His points tally was the highest in a Finals Game 7 in 44 years, since Jerry West’s 42 for the Los Angeles Lakers against the Boston Celtics in 1969. James crowned his Game 7 performance with a key jump shot that put Miami in command with 27.9 seconds left. He then grabbed a steal to ensure the victory.
Meanwhile, Park won both the Wegman’s LPGA Championship and the Women’s U.S. Open in June to become the first golfer, male or female, to win the first three majors of the season since Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias in 1950. Park had also captured the LPGA Championship. She completely dominated the U.S. Open field, leading by six stokes for most of the weekend before cruising to a four-stroke victory.
VOTE FOR THE ACADEMY'S ATHLETE OF THE MONTH: The public is invited to participate in the worldwide Athlete of the Month nomination and ballot voting processes. Visit the Academy website to submit your nominations each month, and then return to the website during the first two weeks of each month to vote for the male and female Athletes of the Month. The votes along with an Academy committee choose the winners who become candidates for the Athlete of the Year. The monthly and yearly winners are announced on the Academy’s website and in the sports university’s online edition of The Sport Update.
PATRICK KANE, MICHELLE CARTER FINISH SECOND: Finishing second in the men’s category was Patrick Kane, who had an outstanding postseason performance for the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. The 24-year-old became the fourth American to ever be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy, which is given to the NHL’s most valuable postseason performer. Kane had 19 postseason points (nine goals, 10 assists) in 23 games. At one point, Kane scored seven goals in seven games.
The runner-up to Park on the women’s ballot was Michelle Carter, who won the women’s shot put with an American record throw of 66 feet, 5 inches, or 20.24 meters, at the U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships. It was Carter’s fourth national title outdoors to go along with one indoor title. Carter, a 2012 Olympian at the London Games, surpassed previous record holders Ramona Pagel (1988) and Jillian Camarena-Williams (2011) who threw 66-2.5 feet/20.18 meters.
JAMES, PARK ELIGIBLE FOR ATHLETE OF THE YEAR AWARD: James and Park are now eligible for the Academy’s male and female 2013 Athlete of the Year Award. For the 29th consecutive year, the Academy will oversee the worldwide online voting that will take place in December. This prestigious award is currently done in conjunction with NBC Sports.