The year is almost over, and in the eyes of Sports Illustrated, Tom Brady is the only one.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback was named 2021 Sportsman of the Year by SI, the magazine said on Tuesday. This is the second time Brady has won the award, having also won it in 2005 after winning his first three Super Bowls in four years.
Whatever you think of Brady, it looks certain that 2021 will be one of the best years of his long and decorated career. After leaving behind a two-decade career with the New England Patriots under Bill Belichick, Brady cemented his legacy with his record-breaking seventh Super Bowl title, which gives him more than any team. of the NFL.
At the age of 44, Brady looks set for another great year, leading the NFL in passing yards and touchdowns and being the betting favorite for a fourth MVP award.
It’s been a great year for Brady, but there have been other great years in the sport. Here are a few that may have had an argument.
Who else could have won the Sportsman of the Year title?
Giannis Antetokounmpo: After years of regular-season domination and playoff frustration, the Greek Freak finally broke through and led the Milwaukee Bucks to their first NBA title in 50 years. He entered the year after making a long-term commitment to Milwaukee and will come out as a champion and one of the most beloved athletes in Wisconsin history.
Suni Lee / Simone Biles: No moment has been more dramatic at the Olympics this year than when Biles, arguably the greatest gymnast in sports history, dropped out of the all-around because of “twisties,” the gymnastic equivalent of yips. Lee stepped up like few athletes ever did and won gold to maintain Team USA’s dominance in the event, while Biles resolved his issues and went on to win one of the most inspiring bronze medals you’ll ever see on balance beam.
Shohei Ohtani: Even Babe Ruth couldn’t top what the two-way Los Angeles Angels star has done this year. Ohtani hit like a star, pitched like a star, and created number combinations baseball had never seen before, leading to a well-deserved AL MVP award.
Candace parker: Brady wasn’t the only aging star to change teams and win a title in 2021. Plus, Candace Parker did so with her hometown team, leading the Chicago Sky to their very first title WNBA.
Nikita Kucherov: Winning a championship is difficult. Winning consecutive championships is even more difficult. Win two championships in the space of 10 months? Go on. Kucherov led all NHL playoff scorers for the second year in a row and could have the Lightning on track for dynasty consideration.
Allyson felix: The United States has had some very good track and field athletes. And now none of them have as many Olympic medals as Felix. With one more gold and bronze in Tokyo, Felix, 36, now holds 11 medals in five different Games and will become a defining athlete in the United States squad.
University athletes: We’re going a bit off the beaten track here (like SI did last year), but try to find a bigger winner in 2021 than elite varsity athletes, who can now directly benefit from their work through the abandonment by the NCAA of its defense of amateurism.
The fans: If we’re going to get 2006 Time Magazine on it, the sports industry has finally seen fans come back in force while facing a pandemic.
Should any of these names beat Brady for the Sports Illustrated honor? It probably depends on your tastes, although all of this shows that 2021 has no shortage of stories in the world of sports.