If you could choose one athlete to be Sportsperson of the Year, who would it be? Before you answer that, think about the qualities that make an all-around amazing athlete. Is it someone who scored the most points during the season? Or someone who was the best team player? How about the person who ran the fastest or jumped the highest? Figuring out what qualities an athlete needs to be considered the best sportsperson in the world is difficult—can you imagine how difficult it would be to choose one person out of all of the amazing athletes in the world?
Well, that’s what Sports Illustrated, a magazine that covers stories about sports and the athletes who play them, has been doing since 1954. For sixty-five years, Sports Illustrated has chosen “the athlete or team whose performance that year most embodies the spirit of sportsmanship” and awarded the athlete or team with the title of Sportsperson of the Year. So who did they give the title to this year? Drum roll, please … the Golden State Warriors! Although there were many other strong contenders—like Olympic gold medalist snowboarder Chloe Kim, and Justify, the horse that won the Triple Crown—this year’s recipient ultimately went to an entire team. Why? According to Chris Stone, the Editor-in-Chief at Sports Illustrated, “It was impossible to overlook the influence that the Warriors, as a collective group, have had on the sport and the broader culture over the last decade. They are a generational phenomenon, the likes of which we might not see again for decades, if at all.”
The Warriors will be joining an elite group of past Sportsperson of the Year award recipients and only three other teams who have been given this honor: the US Men’s Olympic Hockey Team in 1980, the US Women’s National Soccer Team in 1999, and the Boston Red Sox in 2004. How did the Warriors respond to this honor? Warriors President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Bob Myers said, “Our success is due to the contributions of every single player, coach, and staff member in our organization; for Sports Illustrated to recognize this unique dynamic is truly special.” Go, Dubs! Strength in numbers indeed!
If you could name a Sportsperson of the Year, who would it be and why?