Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Derek Jeter, SI’s Sportsman of the Year


Over the past few years, I’ve had problems with some of the athletes Sports Illustrated picked (and failed to pick) as its Sportsman of the Year. In particular, I was dumbfounded in 2006 when the magazine gave the award to Dwayne Wade, an excellent basketball player, over Roger Federer, the greatest tennis player in the sport’s history (and a man who has yet to earn the nod—an unfathomable oversight). I thought that decision truly lowered the award’s status. It truly did.

This year, however, I can’t argue: Derek Jeter was named Sportsman of the Year today, and it’s a wonderful pick. Is Jeter the best player in the game? No. Is he in his prime? Probably not. But at a time when sports have become overly commercialized, overly gimmicky, overly … everything, Jeter represents the virtues that draw us all to athletics in the first place: Passion. Love. Heart. His professionalism is to be admired; his approach emulated. As I wrote earlier, he is the Joe DiMaggio of the modern game.

I applaud the decision, and I applaud the man.

Great choice.