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ESPN hosts Fifth Annual Humanitarian Awards



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Los Angeles, CA – On Tuesday, July 9, the Fifth Annual Sports Humanitarian Awards presented by ESPN and Bristol – Myers Squibb took place at The Nova.

The event highlights professionals within the sports industry who make a positive difference with the platform they have created.

Among the nominees for the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Awards were recent NFL retiree Chris Long, New York Knicks guard Reggie Bullock, St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, and tennis star, Sloan Stephens. Out of the nominees listed, Chris Long was the one to come out on top. When Long went up to speak, he not only paid respect to the man whose name Don’s the award, but spoke on why this was important to him.

“What stood out to me about Muhammad Ali most was is his most important and impactful fights were not with his fists,” Long said. “His fights were with his conviction, his bravery and his voice…and that’s what’s cool about Muhammad Ali.”

Some of the amazing things that Mr. Long did for the community was donating his 2017 salary to benefit educational equality, raised an additional $1.75 million from his fans to support education equality and founded a program to serve more than 225,000 people in East Africa. 

For the Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year, the Anaheim Ducks, Chicago Fire Soccer Club, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York City Football Club were the nominees. 

The Fire won the Team of the Year award due to the commitment place in order to address the public school student dropout rate in Chicago. Later in the event, the winner for League Humanitarian Leadership Award went to the National Hockey League, who promoted positive changes within the players and their families.  The Corporate Community Impact Award went to Under Armour, while Adidas won the Sports Sustainability Leadership Award.  

Deja posing with Laila Ali alongside the red carpet

It was a treat to return to the red carpet again, especially to see the legendary Laila Ali. The best part about her appearance was her words regarding females playing sports.

“At the end of the day it’s not always about money, whatever you do, you have a right to be able to make a living doing what you love so make sure you fight for that equal pay also,” Ali said. 

With her glowing skin, she revealed that her health is what caused the fact of her champion abilities. She spoke about her 14 day cleanse which includes two meal replacement shakes per day. She touched on the importance of our diets and eliminating the wastes that we carry in our bodies from the food we consume.

Pointing out the chemicals used in food and being educated on the ingredients is extremely crucial and I’m happy that someone with that knowledge is trying to help get quality products to the public.

Laila Ali embraces tennis legend, Billie Jean King. Photo by Deja Mattox/The Ball Out

Grammy Award-winner singer and songwriter Ciara hosted this year’s award show.  Ciara stated she was “honored to celebrate athletes who are using their platforms to inspire, motivate and power.”  Unfortunately she wasn’t available on the red carpet for any questions.

In this year’s campaign, ESPN raised more than $1 million, which was granted to selected charities, which includes The Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund at the V Foundation. Multi-platinum pop singer and songwriter Andy Grammer provided the musical entertainment for the evening.

The highlights from this event will be aired during a one hour program on ESPN at 7 pm E.T. July 18th.

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