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Why LeBron James is SI's 2016 Sportsperson of the Year
1:49 | NBA
Why LeBron James is SI's 2016 Sportsperson of the Year
Wednesday December 7th, 2016

Sports Illustrated will bring its Sportsperson of the Year awards gathering to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on Dec. 12, celebrating the year in sports and the athletes who best defined it.

The event will honor LeBron James, the 2016 SI Sportsperson of the Year, as well as the recipients of the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award and the SI Kids SportsKids of the Year. Jim Brown, Kareem Abdul–Jabbar and Bill Russell earned the Legacy Award for their social activism, while the Sheppard Sisters were named SportsKids of the Year. 

Comedian, actor and writer J.B. Smoove, best known for his role in Curb Your Enthusiasm and his starring parts in movies like Pootie Tang and Mr. Deeds, will host the event. Smoove has also written for Saturday Night Live

Olympics legend Michael Phelps will also be honored. The American swimmer, who won five gold medals and a silver in Rio this summer, bringing his career medal count to 28, will receive a special tribute for his achievements. 

"I am honored to be a part of this event recognizing some of the world's greatest athletes, past and present," Phelps said. "I look forward to the SI Sportsperson celebration to cap off what has been a truly memorable year for me, and for the sports world at large." 

The evening’s awards dinner and ceremony will include live musical performances and a star-studded VIP red carpet. The event will be live-streamed on SI.com, while the red carpet festivities will be broadcast on Sports Illustrated's Facebook page. 

SI also has teamed up with the comedy company JASH to produce the Sportsperson event.

Sportsperson
From the Editors: Why LeBron James is SI's 2016 Sportsperson of the Year choice

Presented annually since 1954, the SI Sportsperson of the Year award is bestowed upon the athlete, team or coach who transcended the year in sports by achieving the highest level of athletic excellence while demonstrating the ideals of sportsmanship. The 2015 selection, tennis superstar and global icon Serena Williams, was honored at the Sportsperson event last December, which was also attended by her sisters and mother, actor Will Smith and legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus, who was presented with the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award by Lonnie Ali.

Sports Illustrated will live stream coverage from the event on its digital platforms.

“December 12 will be the biggest, most ambitious Sportsperson event in SI's 62-year history, and we are both thrilled and honored to bring such a crown jewel event to Brooklyn and one of the premier venues in all of sports,” said Sports Illustrated Group Editorial Director Chris Stone. “It has been a historic year in sports, many times over, and we eagerly anticipate capturing the magic of 2016 by bringing together a group of figures at Barclays Center who represent the highest ideals of sport."

“We are thrilled to bring the Sportsperson of the Year awards to Barclays Center and, for the first time, to provide fans with the unique opportunity to experience the event in person,” said Brett Yormark, CEO of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment. “It’s been an extraordinary year in sports, and there will be much to celebrate as the nation’s best athletes are recognized for their many impressive achievements.”

Other attendees in recent years include former Sportsperson of the Year recipients Madison Bumgarner, Peyton Manning, LeBron James, Mike Krzyzewski, the late Pat Summitt, Drew Brees, Joe Montana, Wayne Gretzky, Sugar Ray Leonard and Chris Evert, along with honorees and presenters such as Magic Johnson, former President Bill Clinton and league commissioners Adam Silver and Rob Manfred.

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