Welcome to our 26th annual Men of the Year issue. For over a quarter century now, GQ has ended the year by celebrating the people (note: no longer just men) who have had a profound impact on our culture.
This year, however, we wanted to get a little more specific. You see, as we started to identify the influential folks who made the biggest and most heroic impact on 2021, we found that they all share a certain trait: Bravery.
In fact, we feel that bravery is the most important and timely asset of this moment, and are calling 2021 The Year of the Brave. So we looked across the culture for people who embody the spirit of bravery, starting with the three cover stars that we’re announcing here.
First, there’s Lil Nas X, who is able to craft mega musical hits and pair them with big pop visual provocations more fearlessly than anyone since Madonna. But he also updates the pop-provocateur algorithm with his savant-like knack for commanding attention—and scorching naysayers—via social media.
Secondly, there’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, who does not want to be the new face of the NBA but probably can’t stop it from happening anyway—because of his inspiring life story, unrivaled determination in competition, preternatural charisma, and that awe-inspiring performance in this year’s NBA playoffs.
(Part of not wanting to be the face of the NBA means Giannis doesn’t usually do stuff like magazine covers, fashion shoots, or intimate interviews with journalists, so we are thrilled to be the exception.)
Come back on Tuesday, 11/16 to read the story
Lastly, there’s Tom Holland, who has honored the role of Spider-Man so completely that he might actually have become bigger than Spider-Man. And thus he has to decide how much of himself he will continue to give to being a superhero, and what it means to just be an actor—without the Lycra.