Bucks All-Star and two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo just added another accolade to his bursting-at-the-seams resume, garnering recognition as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020. Athletes were well-represented with Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, hoops legend Dwyane Wade and Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton joining Giannis on the annual Time 100.
Beyond his emergence as one of the NBA’s most versatile and explosive talents, the 25-year-old Antetokounmpo also drew praise for his role, along with his Milwaukee teammates, in facilitating a league-wide walkout following the Jacob Blake tragedy in Wisconsin, inspiring similar protests across the sports landscape. Antetokounmpo’s platform as one of the world’s most celebrated athletes has allowed him to shed significant light on social justice, promoting equality by speaking out against police brutality and systemic racism in America.
Wade has also been outspoken on the topic of race while serving as an important ally for the LGBT community. “With his support for his daughter Zaya, who is transgender, Dwayne has set a powerful example for parents and for society of how to be good allies to young people who are figuring out who they are,” wrote singer John Legend in acknowledgement of Wade’s contributions. “He and Gabrielle [Union] don’t love Zaya despite who she is. They love Zaya and they celebrate who she is and they embrace her. He’s modeling how parents can champion their kids and fight for them and help them become the best adult that they can be.”
Mahomes, who famously held a losing record during his collegiate tenure at Texas Tech, has done nothing but win since arriving in Kansas City, turning the Chiefs’ franchise around in record time while instantly becoming the most recognized figure in America’s biggest sport. “What his play really showcases is his love of the game and the commitment he’s made to his teammates and coaches, and it’s clear that is the true foundation of his success,” wrote Derek Jeter, who experienced a similarly meteoric rise during his Hall-of-Fame career with the New York Yankees. “He already has started to build a legacy as one of the most impactful athletes of his generation, and I, for one, am excited to see what is next.”
One of the most-decorated drivers in Formula One history, Hamilton is also well-known for his activism, particularly in bringing attention to the strengthening Black Lives Matter movement. “Lewis’ example—as the lone Black F1 driver—is particularly meaningful for me,” noted Bubba Wallace, who stands as the only black driver on the current NASCAR circuit. “To see him conquering the track damn near every weekend, it motivates me to try to do the same.”
Last year’s Time 100 featured six athletes including LeBron James, Alex Morgan, Naomi Osaka, Mohamed Salah, Caster Semenya and Tiger Woods.