'Everything Happens for a Reason': Drew Brees

Had it not been for a shoulder injury five years ago, quarterback Drew Brees told CNBC Monday, his life may not have unfolded as it has.

That injury led him to the New Orleans Saints, six months after Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on the southern city and the region. This year, Brees led the Saints to a Super Bowl win.

And for the December issue,Sports Illustratednamed Brees its Sportsman of the Year, the 57th year for such an award, which considers achievements both on and off the field. In Brees' case, his charity work was an added factor in the selection.

As Sportsman, Brees follows in the footsteps of boxer Muhammad Ali, baseball player Derek Jeter, football great Joe Montana and hockey player Bobby Orr.

“[the SI designation] It causes me to reflect on the last five years and what a journey it’s been, obviously culminating with the Super Bowl victory,” Brees told CNBC.

“It was an unbelievable opportunity for me and my wife to be called to New Orleans, to a team that was rebuilding and a city that was rebuilding,” he added.

“You feel that everything happens for a reason.”