Every year, “Sports Illustrated” honors a “Sportsperson of the Year,” which focuses on the player’s special achievements on and off the field. Previously, the title has been awarded to sports legends such as Michael Jordan, Sammy Sosa, Tom Brady, Tiger Woods, LeBron James, Peyton Manning, and others.
The story behind the 2017 honorees for this special title are sure to melt your heart, holding a greater emphasis on their kind hearts and good deeds.
As the sports magazine noted, “We will remember 2017 as much for what athletes strove to achieve off the field as for what they achieved on it...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.”
And the two recipients are:
Houston Texans Defensive End JJ Watt
Watt made nationwide headlines earlier this year following the destruction left by Hurricane Harvey. The NFL defensive player ran a social media campaign for several days in an attempt to raise funds for the hurricane victims. His initial goal was to raise at least $200,000, but he ended his relief fund with a whopping $37 million—making a huge difference in the lives of locals impacted by the destructive hurricane.
On the field, Watt was the top defensive player in the league for the third year in a row before he suffered a serious leg injury—bringing his football season to an end in week 5.
MMQB Editor-in-Chief Peter King stated, “Nothing J.J. Watt has achieved in his career, or might still achieve, will measure up to what he did for Houston.”
Houston Astros Second Baseman Jose Altuve
Clearly, there was a common theme for this year’s recipients. Altuve was also awarded this title because of his heartwarming contributions to Houston amid Hurricane Harvey.
Altuve caught the last out in his team’s win against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2017 World Series, which he said was “for them,” referring to Houston fans affected by the hurricane. Previously, Altuve also personally honored Watt for his relief efforts—he sent him a heartfelt gift and note, thanking him for helping the hurricane victims.
Although the Sports Illustrated article does not mention Altuve’s faith, the baseball star is also a man of God. After his World Series win, he discussed his gratitude and belief in God, giving Him the glory for his personal success.
Sports Illustrated ended their announcement, “The stories of these two athletes who care represent two very different paths, but they led to the same destination: #HoustonStrong.”
God bless these two men for bringing faith and hope to Houston in the midst of tragedy. Congratulations, J.J. Watt and Jose Altuve!
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