Their contributions struck deep in the heart of Texas ― and beyond.
Sports Illustrated named Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt and Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve as its Sportsperson of the Year on Monday for helping the city of Houston rise from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.
The honor celebrates athletes for on-field and humanitarian achievements.
“It’s much more than just two people,” Watt told host Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show” Monday. “It’s a whole city.”
Watt’s 2017 season was cut short by a leg injury but his contributions to storm-ravaged Houston will long be remembered. The three-time NFL defensive player of the year raised more than $37 million for the city to rise from its devastation.
Stranded in a Dallas hotel room in August by the storm, Watt started a relief fund on a YouCaring.com page. “I honestly didn’t know if we could reach $200,000,” he told Fallon.
The 5-foot-6 Altuve, the American League MVP, played a big role in galvanizing the city in the storm’s aftermath by helping the Astros win their first World Series title.
“The city of Houston has treated me really good,” he told Sports Illustrated. “I felt at that time that I owed them something. So when they were having a hard time, I wanted to give something back to them.”
The pair will officially accept the honor Tuesday night during an awards ceremony at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.