Oakland - The
all-conquering Golden State Warriors have become only the fourth team
in history to be awarded Sports Illustrated's annual "Sportsperson of
the Year" award, the magazine announced on Monday.
The Warriors, who won their third NBA crown in four seasons this
year, were honoured with the award in recognition of their collective
feats on court over the past five years.
As well as three NBA championships, the Warriors have also set
records for wins in a regular season, with 73 in the 2015/16 campaign,
as well as the longest unbeaten streak to start a season (24-0).
"There are multiple individuals whom Sports Illustrated could have
selected as the 2018 Sportsperson of the Year and few would have
argued," Sports Illustrated editor in chief Chris Stone said.
"But it was impossible to overlook the influence that the Warriors,
as a collective group, have had on their sport and the broader culture
over the last half-decade.
"They are a generational phenomenon, the likes of which we might not see again for decades, if at all."
Only three other teams have been handed the award, which usually goes
to an individual athlete. The Warriors join the 1980 Winter Olympics US
hockey team, the 1999 US Women's World Cup soccer squad and the 2004
Boston Red Sox.
"This is a pretty cool honour and something we cherish as a group and organisation," said Warriors guard Stephen Curry.
"I know that I speak on behalf of my team-mates when I say that we're
humbled with this recognition. The list of other teams who have earned
this award ... puts us in exclusive company. That's exciting."
The first recipient of the award was trailblazing British middle-distance runner Roger Bannister in 1954.