Beyond the world-class action on the courts and fields, members of the sports world positively affect our communities through important charitable commitments. It’s that premise that forms the foundation of the new Sports Humanitarian of the Year Awards Presented by ESPN and PlayStation, announced today. The inaugural event will take place July 14 at the Conga Room at L.A. Live, and ESPN will showcase highlights from the evening as part of a 30-minute special July 23 at 8:30 p.m. ET.
“There is extraordinary work being done by athletes, teams and leagues to create a long-term, successful impact on society,” said ESPN’s Vice President, Corporate Citizenship, Kevin Martinez. “We’re thrilled to honor these change makers at the Sports Humanitarian of the Year Awards. This event has been in the works for well over a year, and we’re thrilled to have it come to fruition in partnership with the leagues and sponsors.”
Participating leagues nominated a variety of teams and players for consideration in the Sports Humanitarian of the Year and Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year categories. Nominees in each category (see sidebar) will be saluted at the July 14 event with winners unveiled that night.
It was also announced that the Sports Humanitarian of the Year Awards will recognize the inspirational legacy of ESPN’s Stuart Scott by honoring four “Stuart Scott ENSIPRE Award” winners. The honorees include individuals and causes that utilized a risk-taking and innovative approach to help others in need. Scott, a trailblazing ESPN commentator, passed away in January after a courageous battle with cancer.
Most importantly, $400,000 will be awarded in grants to the various causes that the nominees and winners represent, while the overall event will benefit the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund at The V Foundation.
Below are some thoughts from a couple of the honorees:
From MLB Commissioner Emeritus Bud Selig, who along with his wife Sue is being recognized with one of the four Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Awards:
“Sue and I are proud and grateful to be among those honored by ESPN as one of the Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award winners. Stuart was a giant in the world of sports broadcasting, but, more importantly, he was a giant in terms of giving back to the community. Sue and I are pleased to be part of an award in his name.”
From Tamika Catchings, Indiana Fever (WNBA), a finalist for Sports Humanitarian of the Year:
“I am truly honored, humbled and excited to be nominated for the ESPN’s first Humanitarian award. The work I do through my Catch the Stars Foundation, along with other NBA/WNBA initiatives, I do because I love being able to serve and make our world a better place. I am extremely blessed with the opportunities God has given me and, because I’ve been blessed, I want to bless others.”
Jennifer Paulett contributed to this post.