New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James and Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein are among the sports figures who were named to Time Magazine's annual list of the world's most influential people.
Olympic champion Simone Biles, NFL free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick, UFC champion Conor McGregor, Barcelona forward Neymar and Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Ashley Graham also made the list, which was announced Thursday.
Brady led the Patriots to their fifth Super Bowl championship in February, bringing the team back from a 25-point third-quarter deficit against the Atlanta Falcons before eventually prevailing in overtime.
James also brought his team back from certain defeat, helping the Cavaliers erase a three games to one deficit in the NBA finals against the Golden State Warriors.
"By making good on his pledge to bring a championship to the Cleveland Cavaliers and by investing in the promise of future generations through his foundation, LeBron James has not only bolstered the self-esteem of his native Ohio but also become an inspiration for all Americans—proof that talent combined with passion, tenacity and decency can reinvent the possible. Poetry in motion, indeed," wrote Rita Dove, a Pulitzer Prize–winning author and former U.S. poet laureate, about James.
Kaepernick polarized the nation with his refusal to stand for the national anthem, citing racial injustice. His stance led some teammates and other players around the NFL to also take a knee during the anthem.
"I thank Colin for all he has contributed to the game of football as an outstanding player and trusted teammate. I also applaud Colin for the courage he has demonstrated in exercising his guaranteed right of free speech. His willingness to take a position at personal cost is now part of our American story," wrote Kaepernick's former head coach Jim Harbaugh.
- Scooby Axson