Star of film, TV and comedy J.B. Smoove will host Sports Illustrated’s 2016 Sportsperson of the Year awards celebration at Barclays Center on December 12, it was announced today. The event will honor LeBron James as the 2016 Sportsperson of the Year, along with SI Muhammad Ali Legacy Award recipients Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jim Brown and Bill Russell; 2016 SI Kids SportsKids of the Year the Sheppard Sisters; and other top names and moments from the year in sports. The evening will feature a star-studded red-carpet to be streamed on SI’s Facebook Live channel and the ceremony will be live-streamed on SI.com.
Best known for his role in Curb Your Enthusiasm, J.B. Smoove began his career in show business in 1999. His first big breaks were a starring role in cult classic Pootie Tang alongside Chris Rock and a co-star role opposite Adam Sandler in Mr. Deeds. An avid sports fan, Smoove has written for NBC’s Saturday Night Live and in 2007 was awarded the Writers Guild award for “Best Comedy/Variety Series” for his work on the show. Smoove has appeared on the big screen in titles such as Hall Pass, Barbershop and Almost Christmas, and his unique comedic voice has been used for voiceover roles in animated projects, including Ice Age 4 and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
In addition to honoring SI’s 2016 award winners, the night will recognize other landmark moments and performances from the year in sports. This includes a special tribute to Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time. The 31-year-old swimmer won five gold medals and a silver in Rio in 2016 to bring his lifetime Olympic medal count to 28—23 gold, 3 silver, and 2 bronze—further cementing his legacy as one of the greatest Olympians in history, as he now holds 10 more total medals and 14 more Olympic titles than the next closest competitors. The evening will also feature live musical performances and surprise appearances from celebrities of sports and entertainment. The SI Sportsperson of the Year show is co-produced by JASH. Information about how to attend the event at Barclays Center can be found here.
Said Michael Phelps, “I am honored to be a part of this event recognizing some of the world’s greatest athletes, past and present. I look forward to the SI Sportsperson celebration to cap off what has been a truly memorable year for me, and for the sports world at large.”
LeBron James joins Tiger Woods as the only other repeat Sportsperson of the Year winner since the award’s inception in 1954. In an unprecedented year of amazing sports performances, James was transcendent as he rallied the Cavaliers from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals to deliver on his promise and bring the city of Cleveland its first championship in a major sport since 1964. On the SI Sportsperson distinction, James has said that he is “humbled” by the honor and by the company he joins as a recipient of the award. Reflecting on the Sportsperson franchise after the December 1 announcement, James said, “…for me to receive this award and to know that Jim Brown and Kareem and Bill and Ali [are] such a big part of this whole thing, that’s what really means more to me than anything.”
Presented annually since 1954, the SI Sportsperson of the Year award is bestowed upon the athlete, team or coach who transcended the year in sports by achieving the highest level of athletic excellence while demonstrating the ideals of sportsmanship.
News courtesy of Time, Inc.