Highlights from the fifth annual Sports Humanitarian Awards presented by ESPN and sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb will be showcased on Thursday, July 18, during a special, one-hour program at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. The event, was held last week at L.A. LIVE’s The Novo, and 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 was hosted by Grammy Award winner, singer and songwriter Ciara, and opened with acclaimed multi-platinum pop singer and songwriter Andy Grammer performing lively renditions of Don’t Give Up On Me and My Own Hero onstage.
This year’s Sports Humanitarian Awards raised more than $1 million to benefit the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund at the V Foundation. ESPN also provided grants for each finalist and honoree to direct to a qualified charity related to their award-winning humanitarian efforts. In total, the Sports Humanitarian Awards will distribute more than $2 million to the community.
Winner and honorees were recognized from seven award categories throughout the evening, including two new awards: the Billie Jean King Youth Leadership Award and the Sports Sustainability Leadership Award. This year’s winners and honorees include:
Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award Winner: Chris Long (Retired NFL Player)
League Humanitarian Leadership Award Winner: National Hockey League
Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year Winner: Chicago Fire Soccer Club
Corporate Community Impact Award Winner: Under Armour
Sports Sustainability Leadership Award Winner: adidas
Billie Jean King Youth Leadership Award Presented by Anthem Foundation Winners: Harrison Barnes, Matthew Diaz, Lisa Parks and Yasmine Sanchez
Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award Presented by UFC Honoree: Lina Khalifeh
Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award Presented by Bristol-Myers Squibb Honoree: Tyler Trent
Ciara, Laila Ali — the daughter of Muhammad Ali — and Seattle Seahawks quarterback and Super Bowl XLVIII Champion Russell Wilson presented the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award, awarded to recently retired NFL player Chris Long. In his acceptance speech, Long said, “Everybody in this room has a voice. If you are watching at home and you are not an athlete, you have a voice. I’ll never have Muhammad Ali’s legacy and I won’t have his reach, but I have a voice and I’ll use it.” The Super Bowl LI and LII Champion added that everybody should “use their voice, step up and stand up for something. Be authentic and stand up for something you believe in.”
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Edwin Moses introduced tennis legend Billie Jean King, who presented the inaugural Billie Jean Youth Leadership Award presented by Anthem Foundation. The four recipients — Harrison Barnes, Matthew Diaz, Lisa Parks and Yasmine Sanchez— were praised by King who said, “They embrace leaders of any age, race, ability, gender or sexuality. They know that within them lies the power to change the world. We acknowledge the youth of today and how they are impacting our world in a positive way through the power of sports. They are attacking some of the most pressing issues of our time, making a difference through their local communities, states and countries.”
The evening also featured actors David Boreanaz, who presented the Corporate Community Impact Award to the Chicago Fire Soccer Club, and Ian Somerhalder, who recognized adidas with the inaugural Sports Sustainability Leadership Award. Chief Brand Officer of the WWE, Stephanie McMahon, presented the League Humanitarian Leadership Award to the National Hockey League, with Commissioner Gary Bettman accepting the award.
Actress Maggie Q and UFC champion Henry Cejudo recognized SheFighter founder, Lina Khalifeh, with the Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award Presented by UFC. Lina Khalifeh remembered Stuart Scott in her acceptance speech, sharing, “Stuart Scott has inspired me with his speech at the ESPYS, and I am so honored to be receiving his award. So tonight I am honoring his soul.”
SportsCenter anchors Kevin Negandhi and Hannah Storm introduced Purdue Boilermakers football Head Coach Jeff Brohm, who remembered Tyler Trent — the recipient of the Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award Presented by Bristol-Myers Squibb — as an, “example of courage and a symbol for hope,” and presented the award to the Trent family.
Tony Trent — Tyler’s father — spoke on behalf of the Trent family and shared an excerpt of Tyler’s book, The Upset, “‘Though I am in hospice care and have to wake up every morning knowing that the day might be my last, I still have a choice – to make it the best it can be. To make the most of whomever comes to visit, texts, tweets, or calls me. Yet, isn’t that a choice we all have every day? After all, nobody knows the number of days we have left. Some could say we are all in hospice to a certain degree. So why can’t we live grateful lives? Why can’t we make every day count like it’s the last?’”
About ESPN Corporate Citizenship
ESPN believes that, at its very best, sports uplifts the human spirit. Its corporate citizenship programs use 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 was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State University basketball coach and ESPN commentator. Since 1993, the Foundation has funded more than $225 million in cancer research grants nationwide. The V Foundation awards 100% of direct donations to cancer research and programs. The V Foundation’s endowment covers administrative expenses. The Foundation awards peer-reviewed grants through a competitive award process strictly supervised by a Scientific Advisory Committee. For more information on the V Foundation, please visit v.org.
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.