J.J. Watt is among four finalists for the 2018 Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award, ESPN announced Tuesday. The Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award is given to an athlete whose continuous, demonstrated leadership has created a measured positive impact on their community through sports. Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin, WWE Superstar John Cena, Golden State Warrior Kevin Durant all join Watt as nominees for this year's award.
Watt's humanitarian efforts during Hurricane Harvey have earned him a number of prestigious honors over the past ten months, including Walter Payton Man of the Year, Sports Illustrated's SportsPerson of the Year and named to TIME Magazine's TIME 100, an annual list of the most influential people in the world. Watt raised more than $37 million in just 19 days through his online fundraiser, which initially began with a goal of $200,000, half of which Watt donated himself. In the aftermath of Harvey, Watt distributed his funds throughout Houston and Southeast Texas and still continues to work with non-profit groups for future relief efforts. Watt's "thoughtful approach" to be community service earned him a nomination, according to the official press release.
Watt was strategic and thoughtful on how to distribute the funds, spending countless hours with relief groups to ensure the best balance between short-term relief and long-term rebuilding. To date, $30 million has been allocated to rebuild homes, restore child-care centers, provide food and address health needs of those affected most by the storm. The remaining $7 million was set aside for distribution throughout 2018 as relief efforts evolve. His thoughtful approach to community service has long been at the forefront.
Highlights of the evening will be showcased during a one-hour program on ESPN, July 24 at 6 p.m. CT.
J.J. Watt--from his time as a Texan back to his Wisconsin Badger days--is featured here in photos.