J.J. Watt and José Altuve named Sports Illustrated’s 2017 Sportspersons Of the Year
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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There’s no problem in Houston, where two of the city’s biggest stars—J.J. Watt and José Altuve—have received a truly prestigious honor.

Houston Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt and Houston Astros second baseman José Altuve have been selected as co-recipients of Sports Illustrated‘s 2017 Sportsperson of the Year Award.

“We will remember 2017 as much for what athletes strove to achieve off the field as for what they achieved on it,” Chris Stone, Editorial Director of Sports at Time Inc, said in a statement. “While J.J. and José represent two very different paths, they both led to the same destination: #HoustonStrong. This year also marks the 30th anniversary of SI’s original ‘Athletes Who Care’ Sportsperson of the Year honor, which recognizes players who transcended sport alone. This year once again we 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.”

Watt, who has long been known for his charitable efforts off the field, went above and beyond after Hurricane Harvey struck Houston, raising more than $37 million to help those affected by the devastating storm.

“All I did was give people a way to help,” Watt said. “… If I’m going to get an award, I feel like over 200,000 other people should too.”

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Altuve, a World Series champion and the 2017 American League Most Valuable Player, has long been an inspiration for those who are told that they’re not good enough to achieve their dreams. He’s being recognized for giving back and inspiring a community when it needed it most.

“The city of Houston has treated me really good… I felt at that time that I owed them something,” Altuve told Sports Illustrated. “So when they were having a hard time, I wanted to give something back to them.”

Sports Illustrated has presented the annual Sportsperson of the Year award to the player, coach or team who has best personified the ideals of athletic achievement and sportsmanship, on and off the field since 1954.

Watt is the seventh NFL player to receive the honor, joining the likes of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Joe Montana. Altuve is the 17th MLB player to be named Sportsperson of the Year, a list that includes Derek Jeter, Cal Ripken Jr. and Sandy Koufax.

LeBron James, Michael Phelps, Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali and Wayne Gretzky are among the names who have been honored in the past.

This is only the 10th time that Sports Illustrated has chosen co-winners, last doing so in 2011 when former Tennessee women‘s basketball coach Pat Summitt and Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski shared the honor.

Watt and Altuve will appear at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Dec. 5 to accept the honor.

Others who will be honored at the event include the Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award winner, Colin Kaepernick; the 2017 SI Kids SportsKid of the Year, Bunchie Young; the 2017 Rising Star of the Year Award presented by Symetra, Joel Embiid; the 2017 Performer of the Year Award presented by Jack Link’s, Maya Moore; and the 2017 Hope Award recipient, Carlos Beltran.

For the first time ever, the awards show will be televised nationally. It will air on NBCSN at 8 p.m. ET on Dec. 8 and on Univision Deportes Network at 8 p.m. ET on Dec. 9. NBCSN will air encore presentations of the ceremony on Dec. 10 at 10 p.m. ET and Dec. 12 at 11:30 p.m. ET.

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