Athletes exemplifying leadership, philanthropy, activism crack TIME’s Most Influential People List.
A complete list of athletes to make TIME’s Most Influential People of 2018 list.
J.J. Watt, NFL, Houston Texans – Watt didn’t play for the Houston Texans in many games last year. Instead, he earned his place on the list for raising nearly $40 million dollars to support relief efforts in Houston after being devastated by 50 inches of incessant Hurricane Harvey rain. Watt’s profile was written by Houston mayor Sylvester Turner.
Kevin Durant, NBA, Golden State Warriors – Durant’s place on the list is in part due to his ascent into the rarified air of basketball’s elite. As a pure player, he’s probably the world’s second best baller behind LeBron James, who cracked the most influential list in 2017. Like James, Durant is a philanthropist and this year he committed tens of millions of dollars to student scholarship funds. Some would say he rivals James in his willingness to dive himself into political discussions. Durant made headlines with his comments on President Donald Trump earlier this year.
Roger Federer, Tennis, Switzerland – At 36-years-old, Federer remains one of the world’s greatest tennis players, and as Bill Gates pens in his piece on Federer, “he also seems exempt from the laws of aging.” Currently ranked 2nd in the ATP rankings, Federer not only dominates on the court, his charitable work is what stands out. His foundation is committed to educational equity efforts in his mother’s home country of South Africa.
Chloe Kim, Snowboarder, USA – Landing in the “pioneers” section of the list, Kim commanded the world’s attention in halfpipe snowboarding at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. The 17-year-old won gold in the event. She won her first Olympic medal in the country of her parents’ birth and where she still has family.
Adam Rippon, Figure Skating – Rippon won a bronze medal as part of the figure skating team event, thus becoming the first openly gay U.S. male athlete to win a medal in a Winter Olympics. Rippon famously took a stand this year, turning down a meeting with Vice President Mike Pence after criticizing him for his stance on gay rights. Pence was among the US diplomats sent to lead the official US delegation in the PyeongChang Winter Games. Grammy winner Cher writes in his profile, “Adam shows people that if you put blood, sweat and tears into what you’re doing, you can achieve something that’s special. You can be special. And I think that’s very brave.”
Virat Kohli, India, Cricket – For non-cricket fans looking for a comparison, Kohli is the Derek Jeter of India Cricket. An icon with the stats and pedigree to back up the hype. Kohli carries the weight of 1 billion fans hopes and dreams on his shoulder. He led India to the final of the Champions Trophy, One Day International series wins over England, the West Indies, Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand and Test series wins over Bangladesh, Australia and Sri Lanka (twice).