The most celebrated awards event in the sports industry, the ESPYs recognize the most accomplished players in a variety of sporting leagues. At the 2019 ESPY Awards, basketball legend Bill Russell received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, which is given to athletes who “stand up for their beliefs no matter what the cost.”
Now 85 years old, Russell used his status as a star player for the Boston Celtics to raise awareness of racial injustice. Former US President Barack Obama, NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and actor Samuel L. Jackson joined together for a video tribute to Russell for his courageous leadership. NBA legend Kobe Bryant said that the next generation of athletes should follow Russell’s inspirational lead.