Just hours after the announcement that he had won the Sports Illustrated “Sportsperson of the Year” award, Houston Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt appeared on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and expressed his admiration for his friend and fellow award winner.
Watt shared the award with fellow Houston sports icon, Astros second baseman Jose Altuve. The pair also shared the magazine’s cover, dressed in classic black suits, all smiles and their arms draped over each other’s shoulders.
Watt, a two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, has been sidelined with a broken leg since October. However, his fundraising efforts after Hurricane Harvey brought in a reported $37 million — of which more than $30 million being distributed to numerous charities to help with hurricane relief efforts.
Watt also shared that he received a gift from Altuve: a bottle of Crown Royal whiskey. He read a letter Altuve wrote him shortly after the Astros won their first World Series title.
“JJ,” the letter reads, “From one H-town brother to another, thanks for all you’ve done this year for the city we call home. Your support for all things Houston – from hurricane relief to being our number one fan – has been nothing short of incredible.
“So, I hope you’ll accept this fine whiskey gift I gave to all my teammates following our championship win because, to me, you’re absolutely part of the squad.
This year marks the first time the award was shared since 2011, when Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyewski and Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt were co-winners.
It also marks the first time a baseball player and football player in the same city received the award since 1979, when the magazine gave the award to Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Willie Stargell and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw.