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Sportsman of the Year

Sportsman of the Year honors the athlete, team coach or individual who, by virtue of performance and character on and off the field, transcended the year in sports.


The annual award, which SI has been handing out since our inception in 1954, honors those athletes, teams or executives whose accomplishments embody the spirit of sportsmanship combined with a high level of on-field success. Winners have included Bill Russell, Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Billie Jean King, the 1999 U.S. Women’s Soccer Team and, most recently, Madison Bumgarner. In recent years, the franchise has extended into a broad cross-platform play, including expansion into additional award categories (including the Legacy Award and Inspirations of the Year, among others) and a star-studded celebration that in 2014 included NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, Magic Johnson, and Bill Clinton. Few awards in sports are more anticipated, and carry the weight of winning SI's Sportsman of the Year.


The Sportsman of the Year Community Includes: Muhammad Ali, Arthur Ashe, Michael Jordan, Billie Jean King, LeBron James, and Derek Jeter

The Facts

  • The guiding principle of Sportsman of the Year selection: “While the victory may have been his, it is not for the victory alone that he is honored. Rather, it is for the quality of his effort and manner of his striving.”
  • As part of the Sportsman Ceremony, each honoree selects a mentor to speak on his or her behalf. 2014 Honoree Madison Bumgarner chose Rob Manfred; 2013 honoree Peyton Manning chose John Lynch; 2012 honoree LeBron James selected Mike Krzyzewski.

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