Behind The Scenes

Hannah Storm and 2013 Arthur Ashe Courage Award recipient-to-be, Robin Roberts, discuss the honor

Robin Roberts’ mother told her daughter to “Make your mess your message,” and the former SportsCenter anchor and current Good Morning America anchor has taken that advice to heart.

In recognition of Roberts’ incredible journey, she will be honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at this year’s July 17 ESPYS.

“Robin brings an amazing amount of energy, compassion and determination to everything she does. Those qualities made her an incredible asset during her time here at ESPN, and they have served her well as she battled the terrible health challenges that she’s had to face,” said ESPN President John Skipper. “Robin’s accomplishments in so many areas – as an athlete, a broadcaster, a cancer survivor and more – demonstrate her ability to shine regardless of adversity and we could not be more proud to honor her as the recipient of this year’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award.”

“I felt blessed I was working this morning and I got to do the interview with Robin,” said SportsCenter anchor, Hannah Storm. “I felt really personally invested on a number of levels and I just wanted to get across that in sickness and in health she has been an inspiration. I always felt connected to, and inspired by, Robin. I hope people got a really good sense of the totality of who she is.”

Storm and Roberts go back to the early days of their respective careers when Storm was at CNN and Roberts was working in Atlnata.

“I used to watch her all the time,” Storm said. “There was so few women in the business at the time, in those high profile positions, to just to have someone else out there doing what I was doing – I felt we had a connection from afar.”

It was a few years before they would finally meet at Wimbledon, “but I felt like I knew her forever,” Storm said. “There is this siterhood – me, Robin, Lesley Visser, Gayle Garnder – there was less than handful doing what we were doing. And then when I made the switch from NBC Sports to CBS News, Robin had done the same thing from ESPN to ABC and when I decided to make that transition, that parallel was something I was grateful for.

“She exemplifies everything Arthur Ashe stood for,” Storm said. “He so bravely and with such great dignity battled AIDs and devoted a lot of time and energy to that cause. Instead of turning inward, he was able to not only complete charity work, he shared his battle in a public way and he affected a lot of good. That really mirrors what Robin has done – it’s much easier to sort of turn inward especially when it’s something so personal. With all the energy she had available, she really took that personal fight out to the public and has raised awareness.”

The inspiration that Roberts and Storm’s ESPN colleague Stuart Scott, a cancer survivor, have displayed has helped Storm as she has become an advocate for fire safety after a winter grilling accident.

“When I was going through something for me that was also really personal and frightening – and before I decided to share it publicly – I literally, every day thought of Robin and Stu. I continue to be blown away by their positive attitudes and their courage and their determination to keep moving forward. I had those two wonderful examples of colleagues in my mind. I can’t imagine how much others take from them in dealing with their own battles. I know for me, I felt so lucky I had those tangible examples right front and center in my thoughts everyday.”

In the interview above from this morning’s SportsCenter, Storm talks with her friend, Robin, about the honor and some of her memories from working at ESPN. Here, the GMA crew shares the news with Robin.

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