J.J. Watt played only five games last season for the Houston Texans — and he’s played only eight in the last two seasons combined — but his off-field work resulted in the honor of being named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People for 2018. He takes his place alongside world leaders and activists, and according to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Watt absolutely belongs due to his charitable work in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
“Hurricane Harvey was a historic storm that dumped more than 50 inches of rain, damaged more than 300,000 homes and shattered lives. As Houston’s mayor, I led the response and resiliency efforts,” Turner wrote. “But government can’t do everything for everyone. J.J. tackled Harvey’s destruction the same way he obliterates his opponents on the football field. He raised more than $37 million for hurricane recovery and delivered water, food and supplies to storm victims. In the process, he lifted the spirits of all Houstonians.”
Moved by the plight of Houstonians, Watt wanted to give $100,000 with the goal of raising a matching $100,000. His efforts snowballed, and with the assistance of four charities — Americares, Feeding America, SBP and Save the Children — raised $37 million. He was named the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year in February as well as one of Sports Illustrated’s Sportspeople of the Year. He continues to work to get back on the field following a broken tibia he suffered last year against Kansas City in Week 5.
The complete Time 100 list includes everyone from President Donald Trump to the Parkland activists, from Robert Mueller to Chadwick “Black Panther” Boseman. The list is now in its 15th year, and as Time’s editors noted in connection with a past list, “The TIME 100 is a list of the world’s most influential men and women, not its most powerful, though those are not mutually exclusive terms. While power is certain, influence is subtle. As much as this exercise chronicles the achievements of the past year, we also focus on figures whose influence is likely to grow, so we can look around the corner to see what is coming.”
More from Yahoo Sports:
• Wife of Spurs coach Gregg Popovich dies
• Dan Wetzel: USA’s Fierce Five will forever have a dark cloud
• Reds waste no time, fire manager after 18 games
• MLB Power Rankings: Boston’s the team to beat