The ESPYs are one of the biggest nights for sports fans. This year's show might have looked different, but delivered in a big way. The show highlighted many social justice initiatives, athletes who are giving back, and more.


Black Lives Matter Introduction

The ESPYs opened up by bringing attention to the social justice movements going on in our country, as well as how important they are. In the clip Russell Wilson says:

"The only thing that must die is racism. Black Lives Matter. As millions of people of all colors protest, I see a world of hurt, pain and despair. But I also see a new generation, a generation that is calling out in desperate need for lasting change."

Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award

Nelson Cruz took home this year's Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award. Cruz virtually accepted the award with tears in his eyes. Cruz has done a variety of things to benefit communities over the past year including building a police station and medical clinic in his hometown of Las Matas de Santa Cruz. Cruz also donated emergency response vehicles. In his speech he says:

"From the bottom of my heart, my family, my foundation, my hometown, thank you."

Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year

The Los Angeles Dodgers accepted this year's Sports Humanitarian Award. The team has their own foundation (Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation) that works on improving education, fighting homelessness, and putting forward social justice. They have also provided over 250,000 meals to the homeless.

Jimmy V Award for Perseverance

Taquarius Wair, who at the young age suffered burns to his body during a house fire, has never let anything get in the way of his dreams. Wair continued to fight, despite the many obstacles in his way which included him losing the use of one of his hands. Beating the odds, Wair is now a football player at Mesabi Range College. In his speech accepting the award he shared:

"It is an honor to receive the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance and humbling to be on a list with the previous recipients. I use the phrase 'Don't give up' in my life every day, and I will continue to do so in the fight for my dream."

Pat Tillman Award for Service

Champion boxer Kim Clavel accepted the Pat Tillman Award for Service. This March, in the midst of the pandemic, Clavel decided to leave boxing and return to being a nurse. When introducing Clavel yesterday Halle Berry said:

"Kim is a fighter by trade, and all this pandemic did was offer her a new opponent."

In Clavel's speech she says:

"It is an honor to receive the Pat Tillman Award on behalf of all the health care workers battling COVID-19 on the frontlines. Although recently I have pursued my dream of boxing, helping people is my passion and I'm proud to be able to make a difference."

Arthur Ashe Courage Award

NBA star Kevin Love has been a huge advocate for mental health and the issues he has struggled with. Love has previously spoken out about a panic attack he got during a game in 2017. In his remote acceptance speech he says:

"It is an absolute honor to receive this award and I am incredibly humbled by it. In telling my story, if I can help just one child that is suffering to make sense of what they are experiencing, I know my efforts have been worth it. And I hope one day we are able to erase the stigma around mental illness, starting with public conversations around mental health and encouraging people to seek help when they need it, followed by research, action, and change."

Billie Jean King Youth Leadership Award

The honorees for this year's Billie Jean King Youth Leadership Award include Joel Apudo, Batouly Camara, Ally Friedman, Jayonn Islar, Chelsea Quito, Elijah Murphy, and Niah Woods.

League Humanitarian of the Year Award

The NFL received the League Humanitarian of the Year Award for their volunteering efforts, which included over 397 million volunteer minutes.

Corporate Community Impact Award

Burton Snowboards received the Corporate Community Impact Award. The snowboard company gives boards to underprivileged youth.

Kobe Bryant Tribute

The show also featured Snoop Dogg dedicating a rap in honor of Kobe Bryant who passed away with his daughter Gigi in January due to a helicopter accident. The lyrics offered a tribute to Bryant's life and showed how much he means to the world.

Although not like previous shows, this year's ESPYs were most definitely a night no one will forget.

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