New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees was named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year after leading his team to its first Super Bowl title and helping the city rebound from Hurricane Katrina.
Brees, coming off of a shoulder injury, joined the Saints for the 2006 National Football League season one year after the hurricane destroyed much of New Orleans. From 2006 through 2009, he threw for 18,298 yards, the most in the NFL, culminating with a 31-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts last February in the Super Bowl.
Off the field, the Brees Dream Foundation, established in 2003 to support cancer research and the education of needy children, has raised more than $2 million, according to Sports Illustrated.
“Drew’s accomplishments go far beyond delivering a Super Bowl title to a notoriously long-suffering franchise,” Terry McDonell, group editor for Sports Illustrated, said in a statement. “He has been a driving force in a battered city’s ongoing efforts to rebuild and renew while simultaneously resurrecting his own career.”
New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter was last year’s winner. Other selections since Sports Illustrated began publishing in 1954 include Roger Bannister, the first recipient after breaking the four-minute mile barrier; Muhammad Ali (1974); Sandy Koufax (1965); Michael Jordan (1991); and Tiger Woods, the only two-time winner (1996 and 2000).