In the days leading up to the naming of SI’s Sportsperson of the Year, we’ll be looking back and shining a light on the athletes, moments and teams (and one horse) who embodied the attributes of a Sportsperson in 2018.
Every December since 1954, the editors of Sports Illustrated have chosen a Sportsperson of the Year: the athlete or team who best exemplifies the ideals of achievement and sportsmanship. Our honorees—from our first, Roger Bannister, through the likes of Ali, Bill Russell, Arthur Ashe, the Miracle on Ice team, the 1999 U.S. women's national team, Michael Phelps, LeBron James, and last year’s Houston Strong tandem of J.J. Watt and Jose Altuve—comprise one of the most exclusive clubs in sports and in American culture. They are champions in every sense of the word.
It’s that time again: SI’s 2018 Sportsperson of the Year will be revealed on December 10 and celebrated here at SI.com, in the December 17 issue of Sports Illustrated and on the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year Award Show airing on NBC Sports Network (December 13 at 9 p.m. ET). This year, the SPOTY franchise is built around three attributes that every Sportsperson exhibits: An ability to amaze us, a spirit to inspire us, and a propensity to surprise us.
Who amazes us? Anyone who makes the ideals of competition, skill and achievement come to life—when we look back at the year in sports, these are the performers we will remember. Who surprises? A new face who makes us realize that a star has just been born, or a familiar one who finds new ways to keep sports fans enthralled. Who inspires? Athletes who know that championships and medals are important, but sometimes the most lasting impact can be made through service and philanthropy or by giving others the courage to chase their dreams or face their fears.
Amaze. Inspire. Surprise. You’ll be hearing those words a lot in the coming weeks—together, they cut to the heart of why we love sports in the first place. So in the days leading up to the naming of SI’s Sportsperson we’ll be looking back and shining a light on the athletes, moments and teams (and one horse) who did one—or all—of those things in 2018. It’s been a special year, from Tua Tagovailoa turning himself into a household name (surprise!) to Nick Foles and the Eagles Philly Special-ing their way to a Super Bowl win (amazing!) to Mookie Betts sneaking out after Game 1 of the World Series to feed Boston’s homeless (try not to be inspired). There can be only one Sportsperson. But it has been a year full of deserving candidates.