LeBron James Finalist for Time Magazine's 'Person of the Year'
"I am who I am and I think I'm in a position of my life where I'm going to get better every day," James said following Miami's practice Monday. "But it's too much."
The nominations include figures of international influence such as President Barack Obama (the 2008 winner), Lady Gaga, Sarah Palin, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, conservative commentator Glenn Beck, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The intrigue and hype surrounding James' free agency this summer transcended sports and entered pop culture. And the way James embraced the spotlight -- including his decision to announce his intention to sign with the Miami Heat on an hour-long ESPN special -- has polarized fans, prompting some to accuse him of being egotistical and self-serving.
But even James seems reluctant to place whatever he accomplished on the same level of Time Magazine's other finalists, which also include the trapped Chilean miners who spent more than two months underground before finally being reached and rescued in a gripping story that was covered worldwide.
"That's just crazy," James said. "What those guys did, the courage and what they stood for, I should be nowhere near that list. Nowhere near it."
Time Magazine employs a loose definition in making its selection, choosing a person or group of people who have "done the most to influence the events of the year" -- for better or worse. Starting with aviator Charles Lindbergh in 1927 and most recently selecting Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernake in 2009, Time Magazine has recognized everyone from Pope John Paul II (1994) and Amazon.com founder Jeffrey Bezos (1999) to the likes of Joseph Stalin (1939 and 1942) and Adolph Hitler (1938).
This year's selection will be revealed next month.
-- Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.