(NEW YORK, NY, November 30, 2017)— Time Inc.’s SPORTS ILLUSTRATED today announced that quarterback Colin Kaepernick will receive the Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award. The honor will be presented at SI’s Sportsperson of the Year Awards show on December 5 at Barclays Center in New York, and it will be televised nationally for the first time, airing on NBCSN at 8 p.m. ET on December 8 and on Univision Deportes Network at 8 p.m. ET on December 9.
The Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award goes each year to an athlete or sports figure who embodies the ideals of sportsmanship, leadership and philanthropy and uses sports as a platform to change the world. SPORTS ILLUSTRATED will feature Kaepernick’s charitable efforts in its upcoming Sportsperson of the Year issue.
“Muhammad Ali’s enduring legacy is built around the ideals of equality and individual expression and the importance of standing behind one’s beliefs regardless of the cost,” said SPORTS ILLUSTRATED Executive Editor Stephen Cannella. “There will never be another Ali, but few athletes have followed his example as fully as Colin Kaepernick. In this noisy political and media environment, it’s easy to forget his core message: that all people in this country deserve to be treated with dignity, respect and recognition of their civil rights. Too often that message has been lost in the debate over how it is expressed. Colin has sacrificed much in the name of that message, even as he has furthered it with significant charitable efforts that are making a real difference in communities at the grassroots level.”
Each year, Lonnie Ali, Muhammad Ali’s widow, consults with SI’s editorial staff in the selection of the Legacy Award, and Mrs. Ali will attend the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year Awards show.
Said Mrs. Ali: “I am proud to be able to present this year’s SI Muhammad Ali Legacy Award to Colin Kaepernick for his passionate defense of social justice and civil rights for all people. Like Muhammad, Colin is a man who stands on his convictions with confidence and courage, undaunted by the personal sacrifices he has had to make to have his message heard. He has used his celebrity and philanthropy to benefit of some of our most vulnerable community members. I know the Ali family joins me in congratulating Colin as he receives the 2017 SI Muhammad Ali Legacy Award.”
Kaepernick, who led the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2013, has also excelled off the field as an advocate for change in communities and as an inspiration to a new generation of civic-minded athletes and citizens. Over the past year he has donated $1 million to dozens of local charities from Oakland to New York City.
The Sports Illustrated Legacy Award was born in 2008, when Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder and driving force behind the Special Olympics, was the inaugural honoree. In 2014, Earvin (Magic) Johnson was honored for his two decades as an entrepreneur, philanthropist and social and political activist. In 2015, SI renamed the award in honor of Muhammad Ali in recognition of his decades as a boxing legend, humanitarian, civil rights activist and icon. The inaugural rededicated award was presented to Jack Nicklaus. Last year’s co-recipients were Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jim Brown and Bill Russell.
The Legacy Award will be presented at this year’s SI Sportsperson of the Year Awards show along with Sportsperson of the Year, Rising Star, and SI Kids’ SportsKid of the Year awards. In addition, two new awards will be given this year—Performer of the Year and Hope Award, which honors an athlete who continues to give back to their home community as they find success across the globe.
The telecast is being produced by Time Inc. Productions, the company’s television production division, which has tapped JASH, a Group Nine company, to co-produce. Highly regarded producers Robert Morton and Daniel Kellison will serve as executive producers. Executive producers from Time Inc. are Steve Cannella, Ian Orefice and Josh Oshinsky.
NBCSN will air an encore presentation of Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year on Sunday, December 10 at 10 p.m. ET and Tuesday, December 12 at 11:30 p.m. ET.