DAPHNE, Ala. - A pair of American basketball stars were named the United States Sports Academy’s male and female Athletes of the Month for February. Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James and University of Oregon guard Sabrina Ionescu took home the Academy’s top honors after stellar performances during the month.
James earned NBA Western Conference Player of the Month honors after averaging 26 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 10.1 assists and leading his team to a 9-2 record in February. James recorded 10 double-digit scoring games and four 30+ scoring outings in the month and finished with five double-doubles and two triple-doubles.
Ionescu became the first NCAA basketball player – male or female – to record 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, and 1,000 assists in a career after the Ducks defeated Stanford 74-66 on 24 February 2020. Ionescu scored 21 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 assists and also recorded the 26th triple-double of her career in the win.
The second-place finisher on the men’s side was English boxer Tyson Fury and third place went to Swedish pole vaulter Mondo Duplantis.
Fury defeated American Deontay Wilder by seventh-round technical knockout on Feb. 22 in Nevada to win the World Boxing Championship world heavyweight title.
Duplantis cleared 6.18 meters and broke his own world record in the event on 15 February 2020 in Glasgow. Duplantis broke the record of 6.17 meters that he set the previous week in Poland.
The second-place finisher on the women’s side was American tennis player Sofia Kenin and third place went to American cyclist Chloe Dygert.
Kenin won her first Grand Slam title after defeating Spain’s Garbine Muguruza 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 on Feb. 1 in Melbourne, Australia. Kenin is just the third unseeded player in history to win the women’s singles title at the Australian Open.
Dygert broke the world record in the individual pursuit event twice in one day at the World Track Cycling Championships on Feb. 29, 2020 in Berlin. Dygert recorded a time of 3:16.937, topping the previous world record (3:17.283) which she set in qualification earlier in the day.
Each month, the public is invited to participate in the Academy’s worldwide Athlete of the Month program by nominating athletes and then voting online during the first week of every month. The online votes are used to guide the Academy selection committee in choosing the male and female monthly winners, who then become eligible for selection to the prestigious Athlete of the Year ballot. A worldwide public vote on the annual ballot is used to guide the committee in making the final selection.
The Athlete of the Year Award is part of the United States Sports Academy’s Awards of Sport program, which each year serves as “A Tribute to the Artist and the Athlete.” The Academy presents the awards to pay tribute to those who have made significant contributions to sport, in categories as diverse as the artist and the athlete in several different arenas of sport.
The awards honor exemplary achievement in coaching, all-around athletic performance, courage, humanitarian activity, fitness and media, among others. The Academy’s American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) annually recognizes these men and women through its Sport Artist of the Year, Honorary Doctorates, Medallion Series, Distinguished Service Awards, Outstanding Athletes, and Alumni of the Year awards. This is the 36th year of the Academy’s Awards of Sport program.
Visit USSA.edu for more information.