A day after the MLB All-Star Game, while the world's best golfers prepared for the 2013 British Open, many of the sporting world's giants convened for the 2013 ESPY Awards.
A celebration of the year's greatest achievements, the ESPYs isn't just a chance for elite athletes to pat one another on the back for being awesome. There were some heartwarming stories told on Wednesday, July 17, as you're about to see.
That said, there was plenty of back-patting going on.
LeBron James shocked nobody by winning the award for Best Male Athlete. As noted by ESPN Stats & Info, it was James' second straight victory in the category—a feat which hadn't been achieved since 2006:
LeBron James is the first repeat winner of Best Male Athlete since Lance Armstrong won 4 straight from '03-06. #ESPYS— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 18, 2013
After the season James had in the NBA, James didn't win the award based on popularity—he earned it.
On the women's side, Serena Williams matched her own achievement by becoming the first women's tennis player to win the Best Female Athlete award since she did it back in 2003, as noted by ESPN Stats & Info:
Serena Williams is the first tennis player to win the Best Female Athlete ESPY since... Serena Williams in 2003. #ESPYS— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 18, 2013
Both players deserved to win these awards, but they didn't star in the biggest stories of the night.
Jack Hoffman Wins Best Moment
If at any time this past year you've seen the tear-jerking video of the seven-year-old boy and cancer survivor running for a touchdown during Nebraska's annual Spring Game, then you know who Jack Hoffman is—even if you don't recognize the name.
This little warrior overcame two surgeries after he was diagnosed with pediatric brain cancer, as noted by Laken Litman of USA Today Sports.
A staunch Nebraska football fan, Hoffman was an inspiration to the program during 2011. He met his favorite player, running back Rex Burkhead, before his second surgery, as reported by Litman, and gave him a "Team Jack Pray" wristband.
Then, just two days before his second surgery, with his team down by 14 points at halftime against Ohio State, Burkhead rallied his teammates by saying, "Jack's not giving up and we're not giving up," as noted by Litman.
After surviving his second surgery, Hoffman was honored by the team at the Spring Game. The video of his 69-yard touchdown went viral, and the rest is history.
This little guy has won the hearts of many, including Jadeveon Clowney, who posed for a picture with the pint-sized hero at the ESPYs, as shown by Gamecocks Athletics:
Winning the ESPY for Best Moment is the perfect cherry on top of this story. We can only hope next year provides us with another moment as touching and meaningful as this one was.
Robin Roberts Takes Home the Arthur Ashe Courage Award
Sports stir our hearts and emotions when competitors rise above seemingly insurmountable challenges to claim victory. Arthur Ashe was one who overcame many obstacles and inspired millions of people during his time on the earth.
The Arthur Ashe Award highlights his virtues, as it is given to those who, "reflect the spirit of Arthur Ashe, possessing strength in the face of adversity, courage in the face of peril and the willingness to stand up for their beliefs no matter what the cost."
Roberts has overcome much in her life in recent years while maintaining her position as a high-profile anchor for ABC's Good Morning America. She survived breast cancer in 2008, and then recently, this past April, Roberts was treated for MDS, which is a rare blood and bone marrow disease.
Throughout her trials and tribulations, Roberts has maintained her courage and strength while exemplifying a never-say-die determination to overcome. As ESPN on Twitter noted, "her journey is an inspiration":
From pioneering sports broadcasting to overcoming life’s obstacles, Robin Roberts’ journey is an inspiration: http://t.co/bHu1C6nt3v— ESPN (@espn) July 18, 2013
At one point during her acceptance speech, Roberts said something that touched the hearts of many, as noted by CaptainTouchback:
"When fear knocks, let faith answer the door". Can Robin Roberts get an #ESPY for best quote of the year?— CaptainTouchback (@CaptTouchback) July 18, 2013
Her faith, courage and strength is an inspiration to many who suffer and to many who know those who are suffering.
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