LeBron James makes Fortune’s list of 50 greatest world leaders

LeBron James is one of a handful of individuals with basketball ties who were named to Fortune's 50 greatest world leaders list.
Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Fortune has released its list of the world’s 50 greatest leaders for 2015. Amongst the 50, four are involved with basketball and Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James was chosen as one of the few.

At No. 31, James is considered by Fortune to be one of the greatest leaders in the world. Although basketball sure helps James get noticed, this is a big accomplishment and another one to put in his “trophy case.” Fortune praised him for his role in the NBA Players’ Association as much as his play in the league itself.

With two NBA titles, James didn’t need to return to Cleveland — a place without a championship, let alone hope of a quick one. But, he said, he wanted to bring a group together and help them “reach a place they didn’t know they could go.” The Cavs, atop their division as of mid-March, are reaching. Meantime James, newly elected VP of the NBA’s Players Association, will face a fresh leadership challenge as labor negotiations with the league get underway.

The others with basketball ties that made the list were former NBA All-Star Yao Ming (No. 26), Princeton women’s basketball coach Courtney Banghart (43), and NBA commissioner Adam Silver (47).

Having won two championships with the Miami Heat, being a large part of Team USA Basketball and being the namesake of a foundation that spearheads countless restoration projects around the country, James has experience being a leader. He has not only shown leadership on the court, but off the court as well. Through the LeBron James Family Foundation, Wheels For Education, and the “I Promise” network, James has taken it into his own hands to help improve his hometown.

More from Waiting For Next Year: