Past recipients of the award include Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali and Billie Jean King, while the last individual female athlete chosen was track star Mary Decker in 1983.
“This year was spectacular,” Serena Williams said to SI. “For Sports Illustrated to recognize my hard work, dedication and sheer determination with this award gives me hope to continue on and do better. As I always say, it takes a village — not just one person. This is not just an accomplishment for me, but for my whole team and all my fans. I am beyond honored.”