Derek Jeter is SI’s Sportsman of the Year
“It’s unbelievable. It was completely unexpected. It came out of the blue,’' Jeter told The Associated Press during a break in the photo shoot. “When I heard it, what can you say? It’s one of the greatest honors you can achieve in sports.’'
The 35-year-old Jeter is the first Bronx Bomber to be tapped for the award that has been given out since 1954. Swimmer Michael Phelps was last year’s recipient.
But it’s not just about on-the-field achievement, of course. I think the best ever Sportsman of the Year Award came in 1987 when SI gave it to six different athletes, some known, some not-so-well known, citing their charitable efforts as “Athletes Who Care.” This year SI cites Jeter’s philanthropic work as a big reason for the award. If that was the main driver, as opposed to simply wanting a Yankee on the cover in a year with little in the way of monster stories, good for SI.
And no matter what SI’s motivation was, good for Derek Jeter. I have my fun with him from time to time simply because it makes Yankee fanboys crazy, but he is a Sportsman in the truest sense of the term, and he is deserving.