After a year filled with their much-needed leadership, activism, and optimism, two former Little Leaguers®, Patrick Mahomes and Breanna Stewart, were honored this December with two of the five Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year honors, joining Lebron James, Naomi Osaka, and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif. The theme of the 2020 magazine issue was “The Activist Athlete.”
Amidst the unprecedented adversity facing the entire world, not just the sports world, Mr. Mahomes and Ms. Stewart became role models for people everywhere in 2020 as they showed exemplary leadership and character not only as professional athletes, but more importantly by human beings. Since their roots playing Little League® growing up, both Mr. Mahomes and Ms. Stewart have been able to use sports to teach important life lessons, and this year more than ever, they once again stepped up to the plate.
Patrick Mahomes – Rose Capital East Little League (Tyler, Texas)
From winning the Super Bowl to stepping up on the game’s biggest stage as an advocate for the Black Lives Matter movement, this past year has been an emotional roller coaster for Patrick Mahomes, and one that has helped pave the way for change both in the NFL and across the United States. While most NFL quarterbacks would relish in the glory of the Super Bowl MVP trophy and the biggest contract in sports history, it was making a difference in society that was most important to the former Junior League Baseball World Series runner-up. To learn more about Mr. Mahomes’s efforts, and the influence that led him to earn 2020 Sportsperson of the Year honors, read the in-depth feature by Doug Williams on SportsIllustrated.com.
Breanna Stewart – Liverpool (N.Y.) Girls Softball Little League
Adversity is not something that Breanna Stewart has ever taken lightly in her young career, and after missing her entire 2019 WNBA season due to a torn Achilles tendon, the 2020 season was already going to be one filled with an uphill battle. What Ms. Stewart didn’t realize, however, was how important her leadership, grit, and courage were going to play for not only herself and her teammates, but for families all around the world this year. While leading her team to a remarkable WNBA Championship, as well as the WNBA Finals MVP trophy, Ms. Stewart stepped into the spotlight and displayed unwavering support for the Black Lives Matter movement, inspiring players from all across the league and fans from around the world to join in the efforts. To learn more about Ms. Stewart’s inspiring journey in 2020, read the in-depth feature by Megan Rapinoe on SportsIllustrated.com.
Little League is and will always be a place where all races, genders, backgrounds, and ethnicities come together, and we are grateful that this program has helped play a role in developing inspirational role models like Mr. Mahomes and Ms. Stewart.
— Little League (@LittleLeague) October 24, 2020
NOTE: If you know of a player that we have missed, please e-mail the information, including name, current professional team, and the name of the city or town where they played Little League, to [email protected].