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LeBron James, Serena Williams named AP’s athletes of 2013

LeBron James, Serena Williams named AP’s athletes of 2013

HE'S GOT GAME: Miami Heat's LeBron James goes up to dunk in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings, Friday, Dec. 20, in Miami. Photo: Associated Press/Lynne Sladky

TIM REYNOLDS, AP Basketball Writer

MIAMI (AP) — LeBron James of the Miami Heat is The Associated Press’ 2013 Male Athlete of the Year, becoming the third basketball player to capture the award in its 83-year history.

James received 31 of the 96 votes cast in a polling of news organizations. Peyton Manning got 20 votes to finish second; Jimmie Johnson was third with seven. In all, 15 other athletes received at least one vote.

James joins Michael Jordan and Larry Bird as NBA players to win the award. Jordan won in 1991, 1992 and 1993. Bird won in 1986.

James led the Heat to their second straight NBA championship in 2013, winning his fourth MVP award and second NBA Finals MVP along the way.

Serena Williams was this year’s Female Athlete of the Year, announced Wednesday.

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Rice replaces ice in India bucket challenge

An Indian school boy eats a midday meal provided free at a government school in Hyderabad, India, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013. India has offered free midday school meals since the 1960s in an effort to persuade poor parents to send their children to school, a program that reaches some 120 million children. The country now plans to subsidize wheat, rice and cereals for some 800 million people under a $20 billion scheme to cut malnutrition and ease poverty.

The famous "ice bucket" challenge is inspiring thousands of Indians to follow suit, but with a twist - they are replacing ice with rice to help the country's hungry people.