Bostonians may consider Tom Brady the GOAT when it comes to the gridiron. But according to Time, the New England Patriots quarterback ranks as one of the greats even when competing against the nearly 7.5 billion other people on Earth.
So do Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, whose criticisms of corporate greed and President Donald Trump have some hoping she’ll run for president in 2020; Boston restaurateur Barbara Lynch, who rose from the mean streets of Southie to run a restaurant empire; Harvard scientist George Church, who has risen to the forefront of biological research through his controversial work in genetics; and former Red Sox GM Theo Epstein, who grew up in Brookline and guided the Chicago Cubs to their first World Series in more than 100 years in 2016.
The magazine selected Brady, Warren, Lynch, Church, and Epstein to be part of their newly released 2017 Time 100 list, which chronicles the 100 most influential people in the world annually.
The five honorees with ties to Massachusetts were chosen alongside world leaders, athletes, artists, and more, including President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James, Saturday Night Live actress Leslie Jones.
“Our annual list of the 100 Most Influential People explores the intersection of accomplishment and renown,” Time editor Nancy Gibbs wrote on the magazine’s website. “As in years past, this year’s list includes Presidents and Prime Ministers, CEOs and celebrities — but they are joined by others of less fame but great force, in the power of their inventions, the scale of their ambitions, the genius of their solutions to problems that no one before them could solve.”
Each member of the list had a short essay written about them by another celebrity.
For Brady, late-night host (and Brookline native) Conan O’Brien did the honors.
“With a monastic diet, intense training and a relentless, inspiring positivity, Tom built himself from the ground up,” O’Brien wrote. “Great people, like mountain ranges, can feel inevitable, but Tom Brady didn’t have to be this good. He simply refused to be less than the best ever, and no essay by anyone but me is necessary. Thank God I’m here.”
Stephen Colbert, another late-night icon, praised Church: “As a biological engineer, Dr. Church has been accused of ‘playing God,’ an accusation abetted by his beard of biblical proportions. But to me, George seems less like God and more like a cross between Darwin and Santa. … His contribution to genetic research and the imagination he brings to its application may change the entire world and our experience of life itself.”
About Lynch, Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi wrote: “Barbara grew up in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Boston, and decided to enter one of the most male-dominated fields in the world. Now she has seven restaurants, two James Beard Awards and a memoir. She creates opportunities for herself, even when it seems like they do not exist.”
Warren, featured on the list for for a fourth time, received her nod from fellow Sen. Kamala Harris: “I first met Elizabeth after the 2008 housing crisis, when we battled the big banks and mortgage lenders together. I witnessed a fierce and fearless fighter, the same progressive champion who oversaw the $700 billion bank rescue and fought to create a consumer-protection agency. Today I’m honored to serve alongside her in the Senate. In these tough times, Elizabeth Warren persists.”
Meanwhile, actor and Cubs fan John Cusack wrote of Epstein: “Theo Epstein has this weird hue around him. His vision helped end historic World Series droughts in both Chicago and Boston. But his power lies in a paradox, in the knowledge that the only way to keep power is to give it away.”
You can read the full Time 100 list on the magazine’s website.
Additional reporting by Julia Guilardi.
Correction: A previous version of this article referred to Time editor Nancy Gibbs as Nancy Bates. We regret the error.