LeBron James, Naomi Osaka among winners in Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year 2020
First Published Dec 7, 2020, 11:56 AM IST
The 2020 edition of the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year was the 67th edition of the annual event. Tiger Woods and LeBron James are the only ones to have won the award on more than an occasion, while the latter has won it thrice.
The 67th edition of the Sports Illustrated (SI) Sportsperson of the Year was conducted on Sunday, as it recognised “the athlete or team whose performance that year most embodies the spirit of sportsmanship and achievement.” There were five winners at this edition, which happened to be the second-most winners’ edition, after 1987, that had eight heroes.
The award has traditionally been given to men and women across the United States of America (USA), while athletes from outside the US are also eligible. To date, Tiger Woods and LeBron James are the only athletes to have won it twice, with the latter winning on three occasions. Nonetheless, we take a look at the winners of this edition.
LeBron James: The basketball legend, who plays for Los Angeles Lakers in the National Basketball Association (NBA), needs no introduction. According to SI, “Already a contender for GOAT, an advocate for racial equality and the founder of a school for low-income children, James—also the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award winner—put his considerable energy into inspiring young people to go to the ballot box in the face of voter suppression.” He was also the Most Valuable Player (MVP) during the NBA Finals this season.
Breanna Stewart: Another basketball starlet, who plays for Seattle Storm in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). Being a two-time WNBA Finals MVP, she has set an example apart, this season. “When the moment came for Stewart to take a stand, the WNBA superstar didn’t hesitate. Her support of Black Lives Matter never wavered, from the season’s opening tip to the Storm’s title celebration,” reports SI.
Patrick Mahomes: The third American in the list, he happens to be a football player, as he plays as the quarterback for Kansas City Chiefs in the National Football League (NFL). He was also the Super Bowl MVP this season, as SI says, “A Super Bowl victory—complete with game MVP trophy—cemented his status as the NFL’s top player, but it’s what Mahomes has done off the field since that’s elevated him to a new level of importance.” He was further vocal about speaking on the recent Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
Naomi Osaka: The Japanese tennis player is already a three-time Grand Slam champion, having won the US Open this season. Nonetheless, what was unique about her this season was her advocacy for social justice. “Not known for being comfortable as a public figure off the court, Osaka, the US Open champion, came to understand the power of her fame, then wielded it in eye-catching ways to confront racial injustice and police violence,” reports SI.
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif: He happens to be a Canadian, as he plays for Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL, while he plays as gridiron football guard. While he won the Super Bowl this season, he decided to sit out of the ongoing season, serving as an orderly for the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic. According to SI, “He was the starting right guard for the Super Bowl champion Chiefs. But, he’s also a doctor, and when the pandemic came, Duvernay-Tardif traded in his uniform and cleats for medical scrubs.”
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