The 2024 ESPYS: Special Honorees Announced

One day after announcing the nominees, ESPN announced three recipients that will be honored with special accolades during The 2024 ESPYS.

The accolades honor athletes and sports leaders for their courage, perseverance and service with three special accolades. Steve Gleason will receive the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage, Dawn Staley will receive the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance, and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex will receive the Pat Tillman Award for Service. The 2024 ESPYS will air live on Thursday, July 11 at 8 PM ET/PT on ABC from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. The star-studded ceremony will relive the highlight moments of the year, honor leading athletes and performances, and bring together the sports industry’s fan favorites and biggest stars.

Steve Gleason.
Steve Gleason. Courtesy of ESPN.

Former NFL safety Steve Gleason will be honored with the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage for his heroic fight against ALS. The award is given to a deserving member of the sports world who has made a difference beyond the field of play by fighting for what they believe in, impacting people worldwide. After being diagnosed with ALS in 2011, Gleason resolved to face the incurable disease head on. He established his nonprofit, Team Gleason, to empower people with ALS to live purposeful lives by providing broad-reaching programming and support services to help others thrive and ultimately bring an end to the disease. After years of advocacy, Team Gleason successfully lobbied for “The Steve Gleason Act,” which ensures the availability of life sustaining communication devices in the U.S. Since then, Gleason has inspired technology companies like Microsoft to continue developing technology for ALS patients worldwide. Prior to his diagnosis, Gleason enjoyed a successful career in the NFL. During his eight years with the New Orleans Saints, he shocked fans with his astonishing punt block in the Louisiana Superdome’s first game back after Hurricane Katrina, which became a symbol of recovery in the city. Past recipients of the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage include the USA Gymnastics sexual abuse survivors (2018), Bill Russell (2019), Kevin Love (2020), Maya Moore (2021), Vitali Klitschko (2022) and the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (2023).

Dawn Staley.
Dawn Staley. Courtesy of ESPN.

University of South Carolina (USC) women’s basketball head coach, U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame member and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame member Dawn Staley will receive the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance on the heels of her epic 38-0 perfect season and NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship title. The award not only recognizes her resilience on the court and ongoing support for women’s sports and equality in the sports world, but also for her leadership in the fight against cancer. In the last several years, Staley has been profoundly impacted by cancer, with both her sister, Tracy Underwood, and her friend and former assistant coach, Nikki McCray-Penson, being diagnosed. Their battles motivated Staley to take action and become a prominent advocate for cancer research. She partnered with an organization to mobilize potential donors – especially those in the Black community – to sign up on a bone-marrow registry, Be The Match; she advocated for patient care, research and resources; and she visited and supported those undergoing treatment. In her 24-year coaching career, Staley has tirelessly stood up for women in sports, speaking out regularly to ensure gender equality and diversity in sports, particularly basketball. She has demonstrated incredible leadership and catapulted South Carolina into the national spotlight, leading the team to five SEC regular season championships, seven Sweet Sixteens, four Final Fours and three NCAA championships. Past recipients of the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance include Jim Kelly (2018), Rob Mendez (2019), Taquarius Wair (2020), Chris Nikic (2021), Dick Vitale (2022) and Liam Hendriks (2023).

Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex.
Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex. Photo credit: Jenna Jones.

In honor of his tireless work in making a positive impact for the veteran community through the power of sport, Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex will receive the Pat Tillman Award for Service, an award given to a person with a strong connection to sports who has served others in a way that echoes the legacy of the former NFL player and U.S. Army Ranger, Pat Tillman. After serving for 10 years in the British Armed Forces, including two tours of duty in Afghanistan as a forward air controller and Apache helicopter pilot, Prince Harry founded The Invictus Games Foundation, continuing his service by creating an international platform to support wounded, injured, and sick servicemen and women – both active-duty and veterans – who are navigating both physical and invisible injuries. Since inception, the Games have transcended borders and impacted lives across every continent, bringing together competitors from 23 nations, with continued support and programming 365 days of the year. Now celebrating its tenth year, The Invictus Games has evolved into a globally celebrated and acclaimed organization that celebrates resilience, community, and healing through the power of sport. Past recipients of the Pat Tillman Award for Service include Jake Wood (2018), Kirstie Ennis (2019), Kim Clavel (2020), Marcus Rashford (2021), Gretchen Evans (2022) and the Buffalo Bills Training Staff (2023).

“It’s our privilege to recognize three incredible individuals – Steve Gleason, Dawn Staley and Prince Harry,” said Kate Jackson, VP, Production, ESPN. “These honorees have used their platforms to change the world and make it more inclusive for marginalized and suffering communities, demonstrating incredible resilience, positivity and perseverance, and we’re thrilled to celebrate them at The 2024 ESPYS.”

The ESPYS helps raise awareness and funds for the V Foundation for Cancer Research, the charity founded by ESPN and the late basketball coach Jim Valvano at the first ESPYS in 1993. ESPN has helped raise more than $200 million for the V Foundation over the past 31 years. The ESPYS are co-produced by ESPN and Full Day Productions.

The 2024 ESPYS will air live on July 11, 2024 at 8 PM ET/PT on ABC.

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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