The highly anticipated annual TIME 100 list was unveiled on Thursday, and among the esteemed names of global leaders, influencers, and trailblazers, stood a group of exceptional athletes who have left an indelible mark in their respective sports.
From basketball to soccer, tennis to skiing, these athletes have redefined the boundaries of excellence and inspired millions around the world.
One of the notable athletes on this year’s TIME 100 list is none other than Brittney Griner, the renowned WNBA star and five-time Olympic gold medalist.
Griner’s unwavering commitment to her sport, coupled with her bold advocacy for social justice and equality, has earned her the distinction of being recognized as an “icon” on the prestigious list.
Griner’s profile on the TIME 100 list was written by Sue Bird, another esteemed athlete and a four-time Olympic gold medalist in basketball.
Bird eloquently highlighted Griner’s fearless pursuit of justice and her unwavering dedication to using her platform for positive change.
“BG’s wrongful detainment brought attention to issues like the inequities in pay for women athletes, which sometimes compel us to put ourselves in dangerous situations to maximize our financial worth. It brought to light the dozens of Americans wrongfully detained around the world, and BG continues to use her platform as a sports superstar to advocate for their release. It speaks to the power of the women who rallied around her – Black women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, our WNBA community – and who made certain her name was never forgotten, that she’d return home. These are the women who get sh*t done,” Bird wrote, encapsulating Griner’s unwavering commitment to making a difference.
Griner’s inclusion in the TIME 100 list has not been without controversy, with some critics pointing to her arrest in another country for possession of marijuana as a basis for questioning her influence.
However, Griner’s advocacy and activism go beyond her personal experiences, as she has been a vocal supporter of various social causes and has used her platform to raise awareness on issues such as pay equity, racial injustice, and LGBTQ+ rights.
While Griner’s recognition as an “icon” on the TIME 100 list is undoubtedly a significant honor, she is not the only athlete who has been acknowledged for her influential contributions. Other notable athletes who made the list this year include Mikaela Shiffrin, Iga Swiątek, Leo Messi, Patrick Mahomes, and Kylian Mbappe, who were recognized as “pioneers,” “innovators,” and “titans” in their respective sports.
Introducing the 2023 #TIME100 featuring the 100 most influential people of the year https://t.co/bDJYDGWSTN pic.twitter.com/hFvGt2kdWk
— TIME (@TIME) April 13, 2023
The TIME 100 list also features an interesting element, with profiles of the honorees written by other notable personalities.
For instance, Peyton Manning wrote the entry for Patrick Mahomes, while Shiffrin wrote about Swiątek, and Roger Federer penned Messi’s profile. This unique approach adds a compelling perspective to the list, offering insights into the honorees’ lives and achievements through the lens of their peers.
As with any list published on the internet, the TIME 100 has generated mixed reactions, with both praise and criticism.
Some have applauded Griner’s inclusion as a deserving recognition of her impactful contributions to sports and society, while others have expressed dissent, questioning her influence based on her past legal issues in a foreign country.
Nevertheless, Griner’s recognition as an “icon” on the TIME 100 list serves as a testament to her unwavering commitment to using her platform for positive change. Her advocacy for social justice, equality, and human rights has resonated with millions of people around the world.