Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year

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Since its inception in 1954, Sports Illustrated has annually presented the Sportsman of the Year award to "the athlete or team whose performance that year most embodies the spirit of sportsmanship and achievement." Both Americans and non-Americans are eligible, though in the past the vast majority of winners have been from the United States. Both men and women have won the award, originally called "Sportsman of the Year" and renamed "Sportswoman of the Year" or "Sportswomen of the Year" when applicable.

Tiger Woods, Tom Brady, Stephen Curry and LeBron James are the only individuals who have received the award more than once. Woods received his first award in 1996 as an amateur golfer, and in 2000 as a professional golfer.[1] Brady received his first award in 2005, and his second in 2021. James received his first award in 2012, his second in 2016, and a third in 2020.[2][3] Curt Schilling and Stephen Curry have won the award both individually and as part of a team.[4]

The trophy is a ceramic replica of an ancient Greek amphora (c. 510 BCE) which depicts nude male Hellenistic athletes engaged in a variety of athletic activities—running, discus, and javelin. It measures 8" in diameter and stands 18.5" high (20.32 x 47 cm). The original amphora was acquired by Sports Illustrated magazine in 1954 and was donated to the "Sports" collection of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in 1979.[5] Winners of the award are now presented with a copy of the amphora made in silver by Tiffany & Co.[6]


The award's trophy, a ceramic urn depicting great athletes, has been given to the following recipients:

  • Note: non-athlete individuals in Italics
Year Winner Nationality Sport Achievement
1954 Roger Bannister  Great Britain Track and field First sub-four-minute mile
1955 Johnny Podres  United States Baseball World Series MVP
1956 Bobby Morrow  United States Track and field Triple Olympic gold medalist
1957 Stan Musial  United States Baseball National League batting champion
1958 Rafer Johnson  United States Track and field Decathlon world record
1959 Ingemar Johansson  Sweden Boxing World Heavyweight Champion
1960 Arnold Palmer  United States Golf PGA Player of the Year
1961 Jerry Lucas  United States College basketball Final Four MVP
1962 Terry Baker  United States College football Heisman Trophy winner
1963 Pete Rozelle  United States Professional football NFL Commissioner; credited for expansion and the suspension of athletes for gambling
1964 Ken Venturi  United States Golf U.S. Open champion
1965 Sandy Koufax  United States Baseball World Series Champion, Cy Young Award, Triple Crown winner, World Series MVP
1966 Jim Ryun  United States Track and field Mile world record
1967 Carl Yastrzemski  United States Baseball Triple Crown winner, AL MVP
1968 Bill Russell  United States Professional basketball NBA champion player-coach
1969 Tom Seaver  United States Baseball Cy Young Award, World Series champion
1970 Bobby Orr  Canada Hockey NHL MVP, Art Ross, Conn Smythe, Norris
1971 Lee Trevino  United States Golf PGA Player of the Year
1972 Billie Jean King  United States Tennis Three major titles
John Wooden  United States College basketball NCAA champion coach
1973 Jackie Stewart  Great Britain Auto racing Formula One World Champion
1974 Muhammad Ali  United States Boxing World heavyweight champion
1975 Pete Rose  United States Baseball World Series MVP
1976 Chris Evert  United States Tennis Two major titles
1977 Steve Cauthen  United States Horse racing Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey
1978 Jack Nicklaus  United States Golf British Open champion
1979 Terry Bradshaw  United States Professional football Super Bowl MVP
Willie Stargell  United States Baseball NL MVP, NLCS MVP, World Series MVP
1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team  United States Hockey Olympic gold medalists
1981 Sugar Ray Leonard  United States Boxing World welterweight champion
1982 Wayne Gretzky  Canada Hockey NHL MVP, Art Ross
1983 Mary Decker  United States Track and field Double world champion
1984 Edwin Moses  United States Track and field Olympic gold medalist
Mary Lou Retton  United States Gymnastics Olympic gold medalist
1985 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar  United States Professional basketball Playoff MVP
1986 Joe Paterno  United States College football NCAA champion coach
1987 Bob Bourne  Canada Hockey Helped handicapped children's school
Judi Brown King  United States Track and field Helped abused children
Kipchoge Keino  Kenya Track and field Cared for orphaned children
Dale Murphy  United States Baseball Charity spokesman
Chip Rives  United States College football Helped needy children
Patty Sheehan  United States Golf Helped abused girls
Rory Sparrow  United States Professional basketball Helped school children
Reggie Williams  United States Professional football Helped high school students
1988 Orel Hershiser  United States Baseball World Series Champion, Cy Young Award, NLCS MVP, World Series MVP
1989 Greg LeMond  United States Road cycling Tour de France and World champion
1990 Joe Montana  United States Professional football Three-time Super Bowl MVP
1991 Michael Jordan  United States Professional basketball NBA MVP, NBA Finals MVP, NBA Champion
1992 Arthur Ashe  United States Tennis Supported humanitarian causes
1993 Don Shula  United States Professional football Winningest NFL coach
1994 Bonnie Blair  United States Speed skating Double Olympic gold medalist
Johann Olav Koss  Norway Speed skating Triple Olympic gold medalist
1995 Cal Ripken Jr.  United States Baseball Consecutive games record
1996 Tiger Woods  United States Golf U.S. Amateur, NCAA champion
1997 Dean Smith  United States College basketball Winningest college coach at the time of publication
1998 Mark McGwire  United States Baseball Single-season home run record holder at the time of publication
Sammy Sosa  Dominican Republic Baseball National League MVP
1999 U.S. women's soccer team  United States Soccer World Cup champions
2000 Tiger Woods (2)  United States Golf Three major championships
2001 Curt Schilling  United States Baseball World Series Co-MVP
Randy Johnson  United States Baseball World Series Co-MVP, Cy Young Award
2002 Lance Armstrong  United States Cycling Four-time Tour de France winner (wins later disqualified in 2012)
2003 David Robinson  United States Professional basketball Two-time NBA champion
Tim Duncan  United States Professional basketball NBA MVP, NBA Champion, NBA Finals MVP
2004 Boston Red Sox  United States Baseball 2004 World Series champions
2005 Tom Brady  United States Professional football Two-time Super Bowl MVP, Three-time Super Bowl champion
2006 Dwyane Wade  United States Professional basketball NBA Champion, NBA Finals MVP
2007 Brett Favre  United States Professional football "For his perseverance and his passion"
2008 Michael Phelps  United States Swimming Eight gold medals in 2008 Summer Olympics
2009 Derek Jeter  United States Baseball World Series Champion
2010 Drew Brees  United States Professional football Super Bowl MVP and charitable work toward the reconstruction of New Orleans
2011 Mike Krzyzewski  United States College basketball Most wins as coach in NCAA men's Division I history
Pat Summitt  United States College basketball All-time winningest coach in NCAA basketball
2012 LeBron James  United States Professional basketball NBA MVP, NBA Finals MVP, NBA Champion, Olympic gold medalist
2013 Peyton Manning  United States Professional football Five-Time NFL MVP, single-season touchdown record, AFC Champion
2014 Madison Bumgarner  United States Baseball World Series Champion, NLCS MVP, World Series MVP
2015 Serena Williams  United States Tennis Won three majors, oldest player to be ranked no. 1 during the Open Era
2016 LeBron James (2)  United States Professional basketball NBA Finals MVP, led Cleveland Cavaliers to first title in franchise history
2017 José Altuve  Venezuela Baseball American League MVP, World Series Champion, Helped lead the Houston Astros to their first ever title and the city's first major championship since 1995.
J. J. Watt  United States Professional football Raised more than $37 million in relief aid for the city of Houston, Texas less than a month after the impact of Hurricane Harvey.
2018 Golden State Warriors  United States Professional basketball 2018 NBA champions, third title in last four years.
2019 Megan Rapinoe[7]  United States Soccer FIFA Women's World Cup champion, won Golden Ball and Golden Boot.
2020 Laurent Duvernay-Tardif  Canada Professional football Super Bowl LIV champion, sat out the 2020 season to serve as an orderly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
LeBron James (3) [3]  United States Professional basketball NBA Finals MVP, worked to end voter suppression. First three-time winner.
Patrick Mahomes  United States Professional football Super Bowl MVP, pushed the NFL to recognize the Black Lives Matter movement, pushed to encourage voter registration across the country, as well as among his teammates
Naomi Osaka  Japan Tennis U.S. Open champion and advocate for social justice.
Breanna Stewart[3]  United States Professional basketball WNBA Finals MVP, spoke out against racism and for women's equality.
2021 Tom Brady (2)  United States Professional football Super Bowl LV MVP, 7-time Super Bowl champion
2022 Stephen Curry  United States Professional basketball NBA Finals MVP, led the Golden State Warriors to their fourth title in eight years.
2023 Deion Sanders  United States College football For revitalizing the Colorado Buffaloes Football program, despite a 4-8 record.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sens, Josh (December 12, 2015). "Tiger Woods 40 Biggest Moments: No. 19 - 1996 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of Year". Retrieved April 27, 2017.
  2. ^ Neuharth-Keusch, AJ (December 1, 2016). "LeBron James named SI's Sportsperson of the Year for second time". USA Today. Retrieved April 27, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c "LeBron James, Breanna Stewart among SI's 2020 Sportspersons of the Year |". Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  4. ^ Rosenberg, Michae (December 6, 2022). "Stephen Curry Is SI's 2022 Sportsperson of the Year". Retrieved December 6, 2022.
  5. ^ "Sports Legends Donate To Smithsonian". Evening Independent. St. Petersburg, Florida. Associated Press. June 19, 1979. p. 7C. Retrieved June 29, 2015.
  6. ^ Hoffarth, Tom (November 3, 2009). "How much is that trophy in the window?". Farther Off The Wall. Retrieved June 29, 2015.
  7. ^ Soccer legend Megan Rapinoe has been named Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson of the Year Alaa Elassar, CNN, Dec 10, 2019