NEW YORK — BTS has had more than just a "Dynamite" year — they've become such a global phenomenon that Time magazine named the South Korean group its 2020 Entertainer of the Year.
The magazine announced the honor for the seven-member K-pop boy band on Thursday, hours before a prime-time special that will culminate with the naming of Time's Person of the Year: President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
The magazine cited BTS' massive global presence amid the pandemic, including leveraging their massive fan base to support causes like Black Lives Matter. The group has become a staple of recent awards shows, performing their flashy No. 1 hit "Dynamite." The song in November brought BTS its first Grammy nomination.
"There are times when I'm still taken aback by all the unimaginable things that are happening," BTS member Suga told Time for an interview that accompanied the announcement. "But I ask myself, Who's going to do this, if not us?"
Time Executive Editor Ben Goldberger in an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday credited the relationship between the group and its fans for transcending COVID-19.
"The communal experience of watching a show, being at a concert, it just dissipated out of thin air and BTS managed to forge a really rich connection with their audience around the world in spite of these barriers which fell many, many other acts," he said.
Time also announced Thursday the selection of Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James as its Athlete of the Year.
"He is the greatest basketball player of his generation, arguably of any generation. And he won a fourth title this year. That's no small thing, but his true influence was what he did off of the court," said Goldberger. "LeBron has had a remarkable influence across activism for athletes around the world."