Evening to Feature Special Tributes to Sportsperson of the Year LeBron James, Sports Icons Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jim Brown, Michael Phelps, Bill Russell and More
(NEW YORK, NY, DECEMBER 7, 2016)— Star of film, TV and comedy J.B. Smoove will host Sports Illustrated’s 2016 Sportsperson of the Year awards celebration at Barclays Center on December 12, it was announced today. The event will honor LeBron James as the 2016 Sportsperson of the Year, along with SI Muhammad Ali Legacy Award recipients Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jim Brown and Bill Russell; 2016 SI Kids SportsKids of the Year the Sheppard Sisters; and other top names and moments from the year in sports. The evening will feature a star-studded red-carpet to be streamed on SI’s Facebook Live channel and the ceremony will be live-streamed on SI.com.
Best known for his role in Curb Your Enthusiasm, J.B. Smoove began his career in show business in 1999. His first big breaks were a starring role in cult classic Pootie Tang alongside Chris Rock and a co-star role opposite Adam Sandler in Mr. Deeds. An avid sports fan, Smoove has written for NBC’s Saturday Night Live and in 2007 was awarded the Writers Guild award for “Best Comedy/Variety Series” for his work on the show. Smoove has appeared on the big screen in titles such as Hall Pass, Barbershop and Almost Christmas, and his unique comedic voice has been used for voiceover roles in animated projects, including Ice Age 4 and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
In addition to honoring SI’s 2016 award winners, the night will recognize other landmark moments and performances from the year in sports. This includes a special tribute to Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time. The 31-year-old swimmer won five gold medals and a silver in Rio in 2016 to bring his lifetime Olympic medal count to 28—23 gold, 3 silver, and 2 bronze—further cementing his legacy as one of the greatest Olympians in history, as he now holds 10 more total medals and 14 more Olympic titles than the next closest competitors. The evening will also feature live musical performances and surprise appearances from celebrities of sports and entertainment. The SI Sportsperson of the Year show is co-produced by JASH. Information about how to attend the event at Barclays Center can be found here.
Said Michael Phelps, “I am honored to be a part of this event recognizing some of the world’s greatest athletes, past and present. 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.”
LeBron James joins Tiger Woods as the only other repeat Sportsperson of the Year winner since the award’s inception in 1954. In an unprecedented year of amazing sports performances, James was transcendent as he rallied the Cavaliers from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals to deliver on his promise and bring the city of Cleveland its first championship in a major sport since 1964. On the SI Sportsperson distinction, James has said that he is “humbled” by the honor and by the company he joins as a recipient of the award. Reflecting on the Sportsperson franchise after the December 1 announcement, James said, “…for me to receive this award and to know that Jim Brown and Kareem and Bill and Ali [are] such a big part of this whole thing, that’s what really means more to me than anything.”
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.
About The Sports Illustrated Group
Time Inc.’s Sports Illustrated is the preeminent journalistic enterprise covering the world of sports both on and off the field. Debuting in 1954, SI has garnered worldwide acclaim for its award-winning storytelling born from an independent voice and for its unparalleled access to the most popular athletes and newsmakers from the sports world. This is the underpinning of the franchise, which now boasts a group of best-in-class consumer products and platforms reaching more than 73 million. The Sports Illustrated Group features the most-read sports magazine, a top 10 sports digital network and marquee franchises—Sports Illustrated Films, TheMMQB.com, the FanSided Network of sites and apps, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, Sportsperson of the Year, the SI Golf Group (Golf magazine, Golf.com, SI Golf +), Extra Mustard and Sports Illustrated Kids. For more information, visit SI.com and follow @SINow on Twitter, @SportsIllustrated on Instagram and Facebook and SI_mag on Snapchat.
About Time Inc.
Time Inc. (NYSE:TIME) is a leading content company that engages over 150 million consumers every month through our portfolio of premium brands across platforms. By combining our distinctive content with our proprietary data and people-based targeting, we offer highly differentiated end-to-end solutions to marketers across the multimedia landscape. Our influential brands include People, Time, Fortune, Sports Illustrated, InStyle, Real Simple and Southern Living, as well as more than 50 diverse titles in the United Kingdom. Time Inc.has been extending the power of our brands through various acquisitions and investments, including Viant, an advertising technology firm with a specialized people-based marketing platform; The Foundry, Time Inc.’s creative lab and content studio; and the People Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN). The company is also home to celebrated events, such as the Time 100, Fortune Most Powerful Women, People’s Sexiest Man Alive, Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year, the Essence Festival and the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.
Scott.Novak@timeinc.com Danny Leonard