Social justice and gun control made for an emotional 2016 ESPYS
July 14, 2016 at 3:21 am
The 2016 ESPYS echoed the devastating state of affairs recently plaguing America. Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwayne Wade and Lebron James opened the annual award show with a hard-hitting message on social justice. The four superstar NBA players encouraged audience members about the necessary changes that needed to take place and how we all can play a part.
“We cannot ignore the realities of the current state of America. The events of the past week have put a spotlight on the injustice, distrust and anger that have plagued so many of us. The system is broken … but the urgency to create change is at an all-time high,” Anthony said.
Wade said with a sense of urgency, “Racial profiling has to stop. The shoot to kill mentality has to stop. Not seeing the value of black and brown values has to stop. But also the retaliation, has to stop. The endless gun violence in places like Chicago, Dallas, not to mention Orlando, it has to stop. Enough. Enough is enough…”
— NBA Inside Stuff (@NBAInside_Stuff) July 14, 2016
Adding to the touching moments of the night, Zaevion Dobson was posthumously awarded the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Dobson, a 15-year-old football player, was shot and killed last year while trying to shield three girls from gunfire in Knoxville, TN.
Michael B. Jordan narrated the video presentation about Dobson while NBA MVP Stephen Curry presented the award to Dobson’s family.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) July 14, 2016
Upon accepting the award, his mother, Zenobia touched the hearts of all who watched as she remembered her son and his 12-year-old cousin, killed 4 months later due to gun violence. She urged not only the athletes in the room but also viewers to fight back and consider the affects of gun violence on families across America. Her message advocated for Americans to push to rewrite laws about gun access and reminded athletes that people look up to them.
With that influential power, she asked the players to think of why Zaevion Dobson died and consider what they could do to prevent the next victim.
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) July 14, 2016
The magnitude of her message and Zaevion’s life left a lasting impression.
— Alyssa Neilson (@AlyssaNeilson) July 14, 2016
This Zaevion Dobson storytelling has me shook man. #ESPYS
— Kofie Yeboah (@KofieSpeaks) July 14, 2016
— T.J. Holmes (@tjholmes) July 14, 2016
To close the night, NBA great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar remembered his close friend and boxing legend, Muhammad Ali.
“He spoke fearlessly about injustice and he sacrificed tremendously for his principles,” he said. “In this day and age, at this moment in history, that’s what I hope everyone remembers about Muhammad Ali. We’re never going to see his likes again walking down the street, but I hope his death spurs his successors to remember what truly made him the greatest.”
Chance the Rapper took us home with a stirring performance honoring Ali.
Here is the complete winners list of 2016 ESPYS via ESPN.
Best Record-Breaking Performance: Stephen Curry
Best Breakthrough Athlete: Jake Arrieta
Best Play: Aaron Rodgers to Richard Rodgers
Best Team: Cleveland Cavaliers
Best Female Athlete: Breanna Stewart
Best Male Athlete: LeBron James
Best Championship Performance: LeBron James
Best Game: NBA Finals Game 7
Best NBA Player: LeBron James
Best MLB Player: Bryce Harper
Best Female Action Sports Athlete: Jamie Anderson
Best Male Action Sports Athlete: Ryan Dungey
Best Jockey: Mario Gutierrez
Best Bowler: Jason Belmonte
Best Female College Athlete: Breanna Stewart
Best Female Athlete with a Disability: Tatyana McFadden
Best Male Athlete with a Disability: Richard Browne
Best Upset: Holly Holm over Ronda Rousey
Best Coach: Tyronn Lue
Best International Athlete: Cristiano Ronaldo
Best Fighter: Conor McGregor
Best NFL Player: Cam Newton
Best NHL Player: Sidney Crosby
Best WNBA Player: Maya Moore
Best Male College Athlete: Buddy Hield
Best Driver: Kyle Busch
Best Male Golfer: Jordan Spieth
Best Female Golfer: Lydia Ko
Best Male Tennis Player: Novak Djokovic
Best Female Tennis Player: Serena Williams
Best MLS player: Sebastian Giovinco
Jimmy V Award for Perseverance: Craig Sager
Arthur Ashe Award for Courage: Zaevion Dobson
Pat Tillman Award for Service: Sergeant Elizabeth Marks
Best Moment: Cleveland wins first title in 52 years
Best Comeback Athlete: Eric Berry
Icon Award: Kobe Bryant, Peyton Manning and Abby Wambach