LeBron James and Serena Williams have spent the past decade dominating their sports and have been recognized as the Associated Press' Athletes of the Decade.
Williams, who has 23 Grand Slam singles titles in her career, won 12 of them from 2010-2019. Those titles include four at Wimbledon, three at the U.S. Open, three at the Australian Open, and two at the French Open. She also spent more than three years as the top-ranked tennis player in the world.
The past ten years weren't without controversy for the outspoken star. Williams found herself at the center of several arguments with tournament officials over her wardrobe and was seen as a voice of women's empowerment for speaking up about the issues.
“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, chief executive for professional tennis at the U.S. Tennis Association.
LeBron James defined winning during the past decade. He went to eight straight NBA Championship series with two different teams. He led all players in scoring from 2010-2019 and won more games and MVP awards than any other player.
The decade got off the rocky start for James, who was maligned for turning his free agency into a reality TV show. He announced his intention to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and sign with the Miami Heat during a televised event called The Decision. He would lead the Heat to four straight NBA finals, winning two of them. James then returned home to Cleveland, helping the Cavs make four consecutive appearances in the finals. Cleveland's 52-year championship drought came to an end when the Cavaliers defeated the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals in 2016. LeBron was named the MVP of the series.
"You add another ten 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."
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