ESPN will showcase highlights from the Sports Humanitarian Awards presented by ESPN and sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb Tuesday, July 24, during a special one-hour program at 7 p.m. ET. The fourth annual event, held last week at the L.A. LIVE’s The Novo, celebrated and honored leagues, teams, individuals and members of the sporting community that have used the power of sport to make a positive impact on society.
The evening opened with Laila Ali greeting the nominees and spotlighting the importance sports has on the ever-changing world and the event included a live performance by the American Authors. Lonnie Ali, who presented the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award, captured her husband’s legacy of humanitarianism when she said, “My husband made his living with his fist but he made his life with his heart. Muhammad never crossed paths with someone he did not want to get to know. He could open his ears to listen, his mind to think and his heart to love, faster than he could float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.”
More than $800,000 was raised through the Sports Humanitarian Awards, which will benefit the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund at the V Foundation. In total, more than $1.8 million will be distributed to the community as a result of the initiative. The finalists and honorees were able to direct a grant from ESPN to a qualified charity related to their award-winning humanitarian efforts.
During the event, winners were honored from four award categories including the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award, Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year, Corporate Community Impact Award and League Humanitarian Leadership Award. Additionally, two Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award honorees also were recognized.
Presenters included actress Emmy Rossum, ESPN SportsCenter anchor Kevin Negandhi, and actors and comedians Justin Long and Tony Hale.
Kevin Durant, winner of the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award highlighted in his acceptance speech the work of others when he said, “I would also like to shout out some of the fellow athletes who are doing some amazing work in their communities: JJ Watt, John Cena and Doug Baldwin. Thank you guys for inspiring everybody, your work doesn’t go unnoticed.”
Additionally, UNIQLO was recognized with the Corporate Community Award and CEO Hiroshi Taki stated: “Although our company is global we focus on improving people’s lives with innovation and contributing to local communities.”
Laila Ali presented Dr. Sarah Hillyer, representing the Global Mentoring Program, the Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award. Dr. Hillyer mentioned, “It was truly an honor to be there that night with so many in the sports community who are doing so much for the betterment of the world.”
ESPN’s Cari Champion and UFC champion Daniel Cormier presented David Robinson with a Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award. Robinson spotlighted Stuart Scott in his acceptance speech when he said, “Stuart showed what type of a man he was not just on ESPN and being a phenomenal broadcaster, but Stuart as a man when faced with a challenge showed the man that he was, showed you his family and showed you what really was important. I [David] want to live up to that.”
The telecast will also include excerpts from all the honorees’ speeches: Kevin Durant (Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award), Meghan Duggan, representing the U.S. Women’s National Ice Hockey Team (Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year), Roman Reigns representing WWE (League Humanitarian Leadership Award) and Hiroshi Taki, CEO of UNIQLO USA (Corporate Community Impact Award).
About ESPN Corporate Citizenship
ESPN believes that, at its very best, sports uplifts the human spirit. Its corporate citizenship programs use the power of sport to positively address society’s needs through strategic community investments, cause marketing programs, collaboration with sports organizations and employee volunteerism, while also utilizing its diverse media assets. For more information go to www.espn.com/citizenship.
About the V Foundation for Cancer Research
The V Foundation for Cancer Research is dedicated to declaring victory over cancer. It was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State Basketball coach and ESPN commentator. Since 1993, the Foundation has funded more than $170 million in cancer research grants nationwide. It awards 100 percent of all direct cash donations to cancer research and related programs. Due to generous donors, the Foundation has an endowment that covers administrative expenses. Not a Moment to Lose, its boldest fundraising campaign to date, aims to raise $200 million for cancer research by 2020 to help transform the prevention, detection and treatment of cancer. The Foundation awards peer-reviewed grants through a competitive awards process vetted by a world-renowned Scientific Advisory Committee. For more information on the V Foundation, please visit www.jimmyv.org.
About Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali is one of the most recognizable and influential sports figures of all time. His countless awards and accolades include being named Sports Illustrated’ s Sportsman of the Century,” GQ’s “Athlete of the Century,” and being the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freeman and the Amnesty International Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition to his groundbreaking achievements as an athlete, Muhammad Ali was a global citizen who dedicated much of his life to helping those in need. He facilitated the delivery of medical supplies to an embargoed Cuba, provided more than 22 million meals to the world’s hungry and helped secure the release of fifteen U.S. hostages from Iraq during the first Gulf War.
About Bristol-Myers Squibb
Bristol-Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. For more information about Bristol-Myers Squibb, visit us at BMS.com or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.