Sports Illustrated has named the three-time NBA champion Golden State Warriors as Sportsperson of the Year.
The 65th annual presentation of the honor goes to the full team, which will be given in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
“This is a pretty cool honor and something we cherish as a group and organization,” Warriors guard Stephen Curry said in a team release. “I know I speak on behalf of my teammates when I say we’re humbled with this recognition.”
Curry said the Warriors are thrilled to be in “exclusive company” of the other three teams to win the typically individual recognition from SI: the 1980 U.S. Men’s Olympic hockey team, the 1999 U.S. Women’s Olympic soccer team and the 2004 Boston Red Sox.
Sports Illustrated explained its choice by outlining how the Warriors made themselves collectively bigger than their singular superstar personas, such as Curry, Kevin Durant or Klay Thompson.
“For all the individual brilliance of Steph Curry - a selection whom few would have protested - the Warriors have always been most delightfully viewed through a collective prism. There have been superteams that have forced us to reimagine how the game is played, but none perhaps in a generation, maybe two, are so beautifully choreographed as the Warriors,” Sports Illustrated explained. “At the Dubs’ most golden, their movements and pieces seamlessly blur into each other to the point where it impossible to distinguish the magic of one player from another, even magic so singular as that of Curry or KD.
“As with each of the Warriors’ 64 predecessors, performance alone did not exclusively define Golden State. The rise of the Warriors has coincided with the restoration of the NBA as a leading edge of culture that recalls the league’s prolonged boom, which began with the Magic-Larry years in the 1980s and continued through the Jordan-dominated ‘90s. The current boom, too, has coincided with the increasing intersection of sports and the hard questions of politics, race and identity, among others, that have so divided the country.
The Warriors - forcefully but civilly - embraced the unique platform afforded them. No, they did not change the world and its attendant conflicts and ills, but they did not ignore them either.”