ESPN Sports Humanitarian Award Nominees & Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award Honorees 2019

The fifth annual Sports Humanitarian Awards presented by ESPN and sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb Company will be held on Tuesday, July 9, at L.A. LIVE’s The Novo and will be hosted — for the first time — by Grammy Award winner, singer and songwriter Ciara. The Sports Humanitarian Awards are a celebration of the impact made by athletes, teams and sports industry professionals who use the power of sports to make a difference throughout the world. The evening will feature a special performance by acclaimed multi-platinum pop singer and songwriter Andy Grammer. Highlights of the evening will be showcased during a one-hour program on ESPN, July 18, at 7 p.m. ET.

 “My family and I have witnessed first-hand the positive impact humanitarian efforts can have locally and globally,” said Ciara. “I am honored to celebrate athletes who are using their platforms to inspire, motivate and empower.”

This year’s nominees include (see below for descriptions on each award and finalist):

  • Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award finalists: Reggie Bullock (NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers), Chris Long (retired NFL player), Yadier Molina (MLB’s St. Louis Cardinals) and Sloane Stephens (USTA)
  • Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year finalists: Anaheim Ducks (NHL), Chicago Fire Soccer Club (MLS), Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB), and New York City Football Club (MLS)
  • Corporate Community Impact Award finalists: Anthem Foundation, Burton Snowboards, Finish Line and Brooks Running, and Under Armour
  • Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award honorees: Lina Khalifeh and Tyler Trent (posthumously)

MUHAMMAD ALI SPORTS HUMANITARIAN AWARD

The Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award is given to an athlete whose continuous, demonstrated leadership has created a measured positive impact on their community through sports. The candidate must embrace the core principles that Muhammad Ali embodied so well, including confidence, conviction, dedication, giving and respect. The winner will be able to direct a $100,000 grant from ESPN to the qualified charity related to the award-winning humanitarian efforts. The finalists will be able to direct a $25,000 grant to the charity related to their award-winning efforts.

Nominees (winner to be announced at awards ceremony on July 9):

  • Reggie Bullock (NBA): Bullock has championed numerous causes dear to him. He works with NBA Cares and the Vera Institute of Justice advocating for decreased mass incarceration and systemic change. Additionally, after his sister, Mia – a transgender woman – was brutally murdered in 2013, Bullock has dedicated his life to honoring her legacy and fighting for increased visibility and acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community and other social justice issues. In 2018, over 26 transgender people were murdered; 82% of them were women of color. Bullock has worked with Athlete Ally and other leading organizations to defeat a series of anti-trans bills in South Dakota that would have banned young transgender athletes from playing sports at the high school level. He also has helped in the drive to get more NCAA institutions to adopt trans-inclusive policies so all students, regardless of gender identity, are able to participate in sports.
  • Chris Long (NFL): Throughout his career, Long has demonstrated his commitment to giving back through strategic, multifaceted efforts which attack larger systematic issues. He donated his entire salary in 2017 to benefit educational equality, and encouraged his fans to join him in the effort. The “Pledge 10 for Tomorrow” effort raised $1.75 million to support the three cities in which he spent his NFL career: St. Louis, Boston and Philadelphia. Not content with just giving money, the 2018 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year has consistently matched his financial donations with boots on the ground efforts. His Waterboys initiative has helped more than 225,000 people in East Africa gain access to clean drinking water by building more than 61 water wells to date. Long’s ability to inspire and help other athletes get involved with his causes has led to 26 NFL players from more than 20 different teams participating in Waterboys. The program also has recently expanded into the NBA with the creation of Hoops2o.
  • Yadier Molina (MLB): As impressive as Molina’s on-field accomplishments are, his charitable work makes him a true All-Star. From funding a safe house for battered children, to refurbishing a local baseball park, to helping fund the growth of a facility that specializes in caring for pediatric cancer patients, he is focused on positively impacting the lives of children throughout Puerto Rico. Following Hurricane Maria’s devastation in 2017, Molina brought seven industrial sized crates to the poorest and hardest-hit areas of the island that were desperate for aid. For weeks, he and his crew picked up debris, moved fallen trees, cleared roads and delivered clean water. Molina even saved the life of an elderly diabetic man who desperately needed insulin by transporting him to a medical facility. Puerto Rico is still recovering and Molina is still contributing, providing resources and hope throughout the island.
  • Sloane Stephens (USTA): Youth in Compton, Calif., often lack safe, structured environments during after-school hours and in the summer. Stephens is changing the outlook for kids in this under-resourced community through the Sloane Stephens Foundation, a chapter of the United States Tennis Association Foundation’s National Junior Tennis Learning (NJTL) network, which combines tennis and education to change the lives of under-resourced youth, and equip them with the tools necessary to achieve in and out of the classroom. She developed Love, Love Compton, a program that provides tennis and education programming for Compton Unified School District children to level the playing fielding on and off the court. The program provides tennis instructors, equipment and educational programming to more than 17 schools, helping to not only increase students’ physical activity levels, but important life skills, such as confidence, problem solving and the management of adversity.

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