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In a sports world that has largely been devoid of actual sports in recent months, the 2020 ESPY Awards should come as a welcome event. The annual celebration of sport and sporting moments will be hosted by Sue Bird, Megan Rapinoe and Russell Wilson. This year’s ESPYs will be a joint venture with the Sports Humanitarian Awards,
“ESPN recognizes that this year more than ever, athletes, teams and leagues have been leading the way in responding to the needs of communities across the country and the world,” Kevin Martinez, vice president of ESPN Corporate Citizenship said in a press release.
“For six years, ESPN has been honored to telecast the Sports Humanitarian Awards, which highlights the impact that sports has to create social change, and we’re excited to carry that narrative through The ESPYS and our other platforms.”
The ceremony will take place on Sunday, June 21, at 9 p.m. ET via remote live feed and can be viewed on ESPN and ESPN Go.
Here’s a breakdown of the awards, nominees and winners that have been announced so far.
Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award
Nelson Cruz, Minnesota Twins
Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers
Devin and Jason McCourty, New England Patriots
Maya Moore, Minnesota Lynx
Titus O’Neil, WWE
Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year
Los Angeles Dodgers
New York City FC
Corporate Community Impact Award
Can’t-Stop-Watching Moment (Videos and voting found here)
Jackson State Manager Thomas “Snacks” Lee Drills 3
Riley Sartain-Vaughn Bat Flip
Newtown Wins Title on Anniversary of Sandy Hook Shooting
Obed Lekhehle High Jump
Jimmy V Award for Perseverance
Taquarius Wair, Mesabi Range College
Pat Tillman Award for Service
Kim Clavel, Boxing
Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award
WNBA and WNBA Players Association
Arthur Ashe Courage Award
Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers
A Focus on Narrative
As you might have noticed, the list of nominees this year doesn’t include the typical ESPY categories like Best Team and Best Female Athlete. Instead, this ceremony will focus on recognizing service, perseverance and humanitarianism.
“We can’t really give out a best team award when the teams haven’t finished their seasons, and you can’t have a best moment when there was no Masters or Wimbledon,” JMaggieVision Productions VP Jeff Smith explained, per ABC News’ Lesley Messer, via Good Morning America.
This year’s awards will be more about what athletes have accomplished off the field. Boxing champions Kim Clavel, for example, is being honored for her work as a nurse amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is an honor to receive the Pat Tillman Award on behalf of all the health care workers battling COVID-19 on the frontlines,” Clavel told ESPN (h/t Eric Todisco of People). “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.”
The ESPYs will also provide a platform for athletes to address the current movement to end systemic racism.
“We want to provide a platform for athletes to be able to speak directly to each other and to fans,” Smith said. “Our job [as producers] is to identify what’s important to the athletes and what means the most to them, and give them a platform to speak.”
The ESPYs will also feature a tribute to the late Kobe Bryant and the others who died in a January helicopter crash.
“It’s a love letter to Kobe from the streets and the people of Los Angeles. It’s a celebration of what he brought to that city,” Smith said.