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S O T Y

FEATURES

SPORTSPERSON OF THE YEAR

32 LEBRON JAMES

Ohio's favorite son has put his incomparable skills—and his voice—to good use

BY LEE JENKINS

MUHAMMAD ALI LEGACY AWARD

52 THE ACTIVIST MINDS

Bill Russell, Jim Brown and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar continue to amplify The Champ's message

BY WESLEY LOWERY

ATHLETES IN ACTION

64 ... NOW WHAT?

Seattle's Doug Baldwin and others are writing a new playbook of activism

BY GREG BISHOP

PICTURES OF THE YEAR

74 LASTING IMAGES

From a high school to the Olympics, no one had a better seat than SI's photographers

PLAYERS OF THE YEAR

92 HIGH ACHIEVERS

The men and women who epitomized athletic excellence in 2016

102 JIMMIE JOHNSON

With Cup title No. 7, the NASCAR star is at the pinnacle of his sport

BY MARK BECHTEL

110 THEO EPSTEIN

What drives the best drought-killer in sports

BY TOM VERDUCCI

RETIREES

122 TAKE A BOW

Some of the most dominant competitors of their generation called it a career

DEPARTMENTS

6 SI NOW

8 INBOX

10 LEADING OFF

18 EDITORS' LETTER

20 SCORECARD

26 FACES IN THE CROWD

28 JUST MY TYPE

Dan Patrick: Lions wideout Golden Tate on his name and his QB

138 POINT AFTER

Steve Rushin: Stan Smith: the man, the shoe

PLAY OF THE YEAR

132 IN WITH A BANG

The story behind five memorable seconds of Villanova basketball

BY LUKE WINN

On the cover: Robert Beck