John Cena has received his share of accolades in his years as a wrestler, including 16 reigns as WWE Champion. Now that he’s transitioning out of the wrestling business (although I’m sure we’ll see him again in time for WrestleMania), he’s receiving a new honor for the work that may go down as the greatest part of his legacy.
Sports Illustrated has selected Cena as the 2018 recipient of the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award for philanthropy. SI Executive Editor Stephen Cannella, who was part of the committee that picked Cena, explains:
From his unparalleled work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to his support for a wide range of causes ranging from activism for military families to cancer research, John has made personal outreach and generosity of time and spirit his calling cards. He might just be the most charitable person in sports, and his dedication to philanthropy richly reflects the spirit of the Ali Legacy Award.
Last year’s winner was Colin Kaepernick, and other previous winners include Jack Nicklaus, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, and Jim Brown. Cena responded with a show of respect to the award’s namesake:
I am truly thrilled to receive Sports Illustrated’s Muhammad Ali Legacy Award. Ali’s commitment to helping others, his dedication to the sport and his generous spirit are incomparable and he was a role model to us all. To be linked with him in any way is an honor that means so much to me.
The award will be officially presented to Cena on Dec. 11 in Los Angeles, as part of Sports Illustrated’s annual Sportsperson of the Year event.