Two Texas Favorites Share the Sports Illustrated Person of the Year Award

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Tony Maples Photography


Choosing between J.J. Watt and José Altuve for the title of Sportsperson of the Year in 2017 proved to be an impossible task for Sports Illustrated. Recently, the sports magazine announced that both of Houston’s finest would grace the cover of the new issue wearing warm, celebratory smiles.

“This issue is intended to celebrate a new generation of athletes who care, in all senses of the word: caring about humanitarian efforts, about social and political justice, about their communities and about their crafts,” Sports Illustrated wrote in a recent online article. Watt started a fundraiser that brought in $37 million in aid after Harvey, earning him Sportsperson of the Year, while Altuve lived out an underdog story that lifted spirits of Houstonians watching the World Series games. Both stories come together for the cover with the hashtag “HoustonStrong.”

In another article, Sports Illustrated writes that the title of Sportsperson of the Year was first given in 1954, and 2017 isn’t the first time multiple people have been given the award (in 1980 the U.S. Olympic hockey team was honored, in 1999 the U.S. women’s soccer team was acknowledged, and in 2004 the Boston Red Sox received the honors.) Baseball players have taken the most titles with 17 covers, and NFL players make up the second-most winners with 9 covers.