John Cena has accepted Sports Illustrated’s Muhammad Ali legacy Award on Tuesday at the Sportsperson of the Year ceremony at the Beverly Hills Hilton in Los Angeles, California.
Cena said he accepted the award on behalf of his fellow superstars at WWE, and that it was a wonderful night for the company to receive such a honor.
”I’ve just been given the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award here at the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year Awards. It’s truly moving to see some of those moments back and get to relive some of those moments.
“To be mentioned in the same sentence as Ali, let alone a respectable comparison, comparable legacy is simply incredible. I just wanted to say that I accepted this award tonight on behalf of all the WWE Superstars, because I believe if put in my shoes, they would all make the exact same choice.”
“Tonight is a wonderful night for WWE, because here I am, a sports entertainer, being awarded a tremendous honor among athletes. It’s not something that probably would have happened a few years ago, but it’s amazing to see culture change, and people have open minds about what we do, and accept us for just being damn good at what we do.” (ht: WrestlingInc)
John Cena also said that he is sending the award to Connecticut to be displayed at the WWE Headquarters.
Tonight was for “us.” The privilege we have to entertain fans young and old has opened to the possibilities of what can be accomplished in and out of the ring. Thank you @SINow for this amazing honor and @TheRealLailaAli @ikebarinholtz for presenting tonight. Now…back to work! https://t.co/JvCa5DMOOa
— John Cena (@JohnCena) December 12, 2018
“From his unparalleled work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to his support for a wide range of causes ranging from activism for military families to cancer research, John has made personal outreach and generosity of time and spirit his calling cards,” Sports Illustrated executive editor Stephen Cannella said. “He might just be the most charitable person in sports, and his dedication to philanthropy richly reflects the spirit of the Ali Legacy Award.”
The Legacy Award, which was created in 2008, has been awarded to names such as Colin Kaepernick, Bill Russell, Jack Nicklaud, Jim Brown and Earvin “Magic” Johnson. John Cena became the first WWE Superstar win the award.
The Leader of Cenation has been busy with promoting his new film Bumblebee and has not been seen in the ring since his last match in Australia at the WWE Super Show-Down event on October 6 where he teamed up with Bobby Lashley to win against Kevin Owens and Elias. Cena is set to return to the ring 26 December at the Madison Square Garden shows.