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Associated Press Athlete of the Year Award

See a list of athletes that have been awarded the Associated Press Athlete of the Year Award. In 2019, the winners of the award are Gymnast Simone Biles and Basketball player Kawhi Leonard.

Fast Facts:

  • The first Athlete of the Year award in the U.S. was selected in 1931 by the Associated Press (AP).
  • Tennis player Serena Williams has been awarded AP Athlete of the Year seven times, which is the most of any other athlete.

Associated Press Athlete of the Year Award Recipients

YearMaleSportFemaleSport
2019Kawhi LeonardNational Basketball AssociationSimone BilesGymnastics
2018LeBron JamesNational Basketball AssociationSerena WilliamsTennis
2017José AltuveMajor League BaseballKatie LedeckySwimming
2016LeBron JamesNational Basketball AssociationSimone BilesGymnastics
2015Stephen CurryNational Basketball AssociationSerena WilliamsTennis
2014Madison BumgarnerMajor League BaseballMo’ne DavisLittle League baseball
2013LeBron JamesNational Basketball AssociationSerena WilliamsTennis
2012Michael PhelpsSwimmingGabby DouglasGymnastics
2011Aaron RodgersNational Football LeagueAbby WambachSoccer
2010Drew BreesNational Football LeagueLindsey VonnSkiing
2009Jimmie JohnsonAuto racingSerena WilliamsTennis
2008Michael PhelpsSwimmingCandace ParkerWomen’s National Basketball Association
2007Tom BradyNational Football LeagueLorena OchoaGolf
2006Tiger WoodsGolfLorena OchoaGolf
2005Lance ArmstrongCyclingAnnika SörenstamGolf
2004Lance ArmstrongCyclingAnnika SörenstamGolf
2003Lance ArmstrongCyclingAnnika SörenstamGolf
2002Lance ArmstrongCyclingSerena WilliamsTennis
2001Barry BondsMajor League BaseballJennifer CapriatiTennis
2000Tiger WoodsGolfMarion JonesTrack and field
1999Tiger WoodsGolfU.S. women’s soccer teamSoccer
1998Mark McGwireMajor League BaseballSe Ri PakGolf
1997Tiger WoodsGolfMartina HingisTennis
1996Michael JohnsonTrack and fieldAmy Van DykenSwimming
1995Cal Ripken Jr.Major League BaseballRebecca LoboCollege basketball
1994George ForemanBoxingBonnie BlairSpeed skating
1993Michael JordanNational Basketball AssociationSheryl SwoopesCollege basketball
1992Michael JordanNational Basketball AssociationMonica SelesTennis
1991Michael JordanNational Basketball AssociationMonica SelesTennis
1990Joe MontanaNational Football LeagueBeth DanielGolf
1989Joe MontanaNational Football LeagueSteffi GrafTennis
1988Orel HershiserMajor League BaseballFlorence Griffith JoynerTrack and field
1987Ben JohnsonTrack and fieldJackie Joyner-KerseeTrack and field
1986Larry BirdNational Basketball AssociationMartina NavratilovaTennis
1985Dwight GoodenMajor League BaseballNancy LopezGolf
1984Carl LewisTrack and fieldMary Lou RettonGymnastics
1983Carl LewisTrack and fieldMartina NavratilovaTennis
1982Wayne GretzkyNational Hockey LeagueMary TabbTrack and field
1981John McEnroeTennisTracy AustinTennis
1980U.S. Olympic hockey teamIce hockeyChris Evert LloydTennis
1979Willie StargellMajor League BaseballTracy AustinTennis
1978Ron GuidryMajor League BaseballNancy LopezGolf
1977Steve CauthenHorse racingChris EvertTennis
1976Bruce JennerTrack and fieldNadia ComăneciGymnastics
1975Fred LynnMajor League BaseballChris EvertTennis
1974Muhammad AliBoxingChris EvertTennis
1973O.J. SimpsonNational Football LeagueBillie Jean KingTennis
1972Mark SpitzSwimmingOlga KorbutGymnastics
1971Lee TrevinoGolfEvonne GoolagongTennis
1970George BlandaNational Football LeagueChi ChengTrack and field
1969Tom SeaverMajor League BaseballDebbie MeyerSwimming
1968Denny McLainMajor League BaseballPeggy FlemingFigure skating
1967Carl YastrzemskiMajor League BaseballBillie Jean KingTennis
1966Frank RobinsonMajor League BaseballKathy WhitworthGolf
1965Sandy KoufaxMajor League BaseballKathy WhitworthGolf
1964Don SchollanderSwimmingMickey WrightGolf
1963Sandy KoufaxMajor League BaseballMickey WrightGolf
1962Maury WillsMajor League BaseballDawn FraserSwimming
1961Roger MarisMajor League BaseballWilma RudolphTrack and field
1960Rafer JohnsonTrack and fieldWilma RudolphTrack and field
1959Ingemar JohanssonBoxingMaria BuenoTennis
1958Herb ElliottTrack and fieldAlthea GibsonTennis
1957Ted WilliamsMajor League BaseballAlthea GibsonTennis
1956Mickey MantleMajor League BaseballPat McCormickDiving
1955Howard “Hopalong” CassadyCollege footballPatty BergGolf
1954Willie MaysMajor League BaseballBabe Didrikson ZahariasGolf
1953Ben HoganGolfMaureen ConnollyTennis
1952Bob MathiasTrack and fieldMaureen ConnollyTennis
1951Dick KazmaierCollege footballMaureen ConnollyTennis
1950Jim KonstantyMajor League BaseballBabe Didrikson ZahariasGolf
1949Leon HartCollege footballMarlene BauerGolf
1948Lou BoudreauMajor League BaseballFanny Blankers-KoenTrack and field
1947Johnny LujackCollege footballBabe Didrikson ZahariasGolf
1946Glenn DavisCollege footballBabe Didrikson ZahariasGolf
1945Byron NelsonGolfBabe Didrikson ZahariasGolf
1944Byron NelsonGolfAnn CurtisSwimming
1943Gunder HäggTrack and fieldPatty BergGolf
1942Frank SinkwichCollege footballGloria CallenSwimming
1941Joe DiMaggioMajor League BaseballBetty Hicks NewellGolf
1940Tom HarmonCollege footballAlice MarbleTennis
1939Nile KinnickCollege footballAlice MarbleTennis
1938Don BudgeTennisPatty BergGolf
1937Don BudgeTennisKatherine RawlsSwimming
1936Jesse OwensTrack and fieldHelen StephensTrack and field
1935Joe LouisBoxingHelen Wills MoodyTennis
1934Dizzy DeanMajor League BaseballVirginia Van WieGolf
1933Carl HubbellMajor League BaseballHelen JacobsTennis
1932Gene SarazenGolfBabe DidriksonTrack and field
1931Pepper MartinMajor League BaseballHelene MadisonSwimming
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