OAKLAND (CBS SF/AP) — Generally an award given to one of the sportsworld’s superstars, Sports Illustrated announced Monday it has chosen to give its prestigious Sportsperson of the Year honors to the Golden State Warriors.
The significance of it being a team award this year was not lost on head coach Steve Kerr.
“We are really honored to be named sports team of the year by Sports Illustrated,” Kerr said in a tweet post. “It’s an incredible award (because) usually it goes to an individual but the fact that it is going to our team I think recognizes what the Warriors have been all about.”
The Warriors join the 1980 U.S. hockey team, the 1999 U.S. Women’s World Cup soccer squad and the 2004 Boston Red Sox as the other team honorees.
Sports Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Stone said they have been thinking of some way to honor the Warriors during their run of three titles in four years. He also acknowledged that there were a couple years where Steph Curry has been in the conversation.
“There is something transcendent about the team where the sum of their parts was apparent from the beginning,” Stone said. “What they have built into a dynasty is a function of empirical success. They’re really a generational team. I don’t know if, in my lifetime, there has been a team where the pieces have blended so beautifully together.”
Stone also said that the Warriors’ honor is more about the celebration of the organization doing something unique over an extended period while the other teams were honored for what they did in a certain year.
Alexander Ovechkin, who led the Washington Capitals to their first Stanley Cup title, Tiger Woods and LeBron James also received consideration, but Stone said the Warriors felt like the favorite when they repeated as NBA champions.
“In the same way they play, they seem to speak in a single voice,” Stone said. “The unity of message with the Warriors is the same way we refer to LeBron and his answering some of the hard questions. They did it forcefully, but also civilly, in a way that helps advance conversations.”
The Warriors will receive the award during a ceremony in Los Angeles on Tuesday that will air on NBCSN on Thursday.
“This is an incredible honor and one that certainly signifies our Strength in Numbers philosophy as a team and organization,” Warriors President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Bob Myers said. “Our success is due to the contributions of every single player, coach and staff member in our organization; for Sports Illustrated to recognize this unique dynamic is truly special.”