- The honor represents not only their athletic achievement, but also efforts in shining a light on social justice issues during such a tumultuous year.
- On top of her accomplishments this year, the feature recalled how Osaka honored Black victims of police violence or a racist attack during the U.S. Open by wearing their names in seven different masks.
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- Osaka joins golf star Tiger Woods as the only Asian Americans to be honored with the title.
- Woods was named “Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year” in 1996 and again in 2001.
- “Much of what you get asked as an athlete is banal,” Navratilova wrote. “But here was an opportunity, as Naomi saw it, to use her fame and her voice to address something so much more important than winning a tennis tournament.”
- Osaka, who often uses her platform to raise awareness on race relations, has even been called a “terrorist” for expressing her support for the Black Lives Matter, as NextShark previously reported.
- “I’ve seen from Naomi’s tweets and posts that she magnifies the issues she cares about. She’s using that bullhorn—the bullhorn that she never asked for—very wisely,” Navratilova further noted. She ended the tribute by saying that it was Naomi’s actions offline which made the biggest impact.