Sport Illustrated has announced that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jim Brown and Bill Russell will be awarded the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award at this year’s “Sportsperson of the Year” event.
In September of 2015, Sport Illustrated renamed their “Legacy Award” to honor the former heavyweight champion. According to SI.com
, the award celebrates “individuals whose dedication to the ideals of sportsmanship has spanned decades and whose career in athletics has directly or indirectly impacted the world.”
The Muhammad Ali Legacy Award is the magazine’s highest honor, and it’s only been given out three times in the history of the publication. The only previous winners are Jack Nicklaus (2015), Earving “Magic” Johnson (2014) and Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of the Special Olympics (2008).
This years recipients have been selected not just for their athletic achievements but for their activism
in pursuit of social justice. Among other notable events, all three men famously met with the boxer during the Muhammad Ali Summit
to discuss civil rights and the war in Vietnam. After hearing about his selection, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar released this statement
to the press:
“Muhammad Ali was both a friend and a personal inspiration to me as an athlete and as an activist. To receive an award in his name is especially moving because it means I am honoring his legacy as a man who defied conventions and courageously risked life and career to making America a land of freedom, equal opportunity and social justice.”
The ceremony will take place December 12 at Barclays Center in New York.