ESPN / ABC Anchor Robin Roberts Receives Arthur Ashe Courage Award [VIDEO]
Back in 1993, the first recipient of the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage during the ESPY Awards was former North Carolina State men's basketball coach Jim Valvano. During his speech, which is still viewed as one of the best acceptance speeches at any American awards show, Valvano announced the start of a new organization to raise funds for cancer research called The V Foundation.
Jimmy V, as he was affectionately called, was a tremendous advocate during his own battle with cancer, which eventually took his life less than two months after giving his memorable speech at the 1993 ESPY Awards. And then last night, almost 20 and a half years after Jim Valvano's amazing speech as the inaugural recipient of the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage, we saw a woman step up to the microphone with the same strength and tenacity about her fight against Breast Cancer and its complications - ESPN / ABC television anchor Robin Roberts.
Prior to receiving the award, ESPN showed this piece about the life and courage of Robin Roberts, narrated by actor Tom Cruise:
Following that amazing piece, Robin Roberts was invited to the stage to give a few words, escorted up the staircase by fellow ESPN / ABC anchor Josh Elliott. What happened next was a speech about hope, love, faith and being a true example of Jim Valvano's message to never give up:
I have personally seen the horrors that can come with fighting cancer, losing 2 family members to different forms of the disease in 2004 and 2007, respectively. It takes someone with great mental and physical strength, as well as a lot of courage, to be willing and open to showcasing your battle for all the world to see - and that's exactly what Robin Roberts has displayed. Not just once, but twice.
Sometimes, we allow ourselves to become so engrossed by the competition in sports that we forget about the human spirit and the stories that occur behind the scenes. Robin Roberts was a pioneer for women in sports broadcasting, who continues to inspire women and touch the lives of all cancer patients. I, for one, have great admiration and respect for this brave, strong woman who has almost always lived her life in what many would call "a man's world." She has found her niche and an inspiring calling in life, carving out her own little place that she can call Robin's world.