Maya Moore to be Honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award During The 2021 ESPYS Presented By Capital One July 10 Live on ABC
Robin Roberts to Present Moore with the Award on the Day That Would Have Marked Ashe's 78th Birthday
In 2019, after four WNBA championships, two Olympic gold medals, a WNBA MVP award, three All-Star MVPs, and a scoring title, at the very peak of her prime, Maya Moore decided to step away from the game to fight for justice for Jonathan Irons, a man who was wrongly convicted of burglary and assault and sentenced to 50 years in prison. Moore redirected her winning spirit to Irons' cause, forming the "Win with Justice" campaign to educate the public on the power of prosecutors and organize for his freedom. After years of advocacy, Irons' conviction was finally overturned last spring, and he was a free man by the summer. Irons was clear about Moore's role in this victory: "She saved my life." He was also clear about what she meant to him; hours after his release, he asked for her hand in marriage. They quietly tied the knot shortly thereafter.
In light of their happy ending, some may see Moore's basketball leave as simply a romantic sacrifice. But that does a disservice to her nearly life-long commitment to criminal justice reform. Moore has walked the walk of an athlete activist for years, investing herself deeply in the day-to-day struggle for justice. Winning Irons' freedom was just the beginning. In recognition of her commitment to criminal justice reform, Moore will be honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award - on what would have been Ashe's 78th birthday - during The 2021 ESPYS on Saturday, July 10 live on ABC. Robin Roberts, who serves as Executive Producer on the upcoming 30 for 30 "Breakaway," chronicling Moore's departure from the sport to rededicate her life to criminal justice reform, will present her with the award. The film will premiere July 13 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN and will re-air on ABC August 8.
"I'm so honored to be able to continue to share this powerful story with the world by receiving the Arthur Ashe Courage Award," said Moore. "In the face of injustice, the courage to care about justice, human dignity and freedom is now able to be celebrated in this momentous way and I'm so happy for Jonathan and all who helped contribute to this victory!"
Added Senior Vice President and Editor-At-Large ESPN Content, Rob King: "Maya's courage lies not just in her decision to step away from a basketball career full of unprecedented success. Instead, her commitment to live a life unerringly devoted to faith, family and justice sets a shining example for anyone seeking their own path toward having a real and lasting impact on the world. We're so honored to celebrate her with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award."
The Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the annual ESPYS has become one of the most prominent, prestigious, and talked-about honors in sports. Having recognized global icons like Muhammad Ali and Nelson Mandela, little-known heroes like Zaevion Dobson and Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, sports legends like Pat Summitt and Billie Jean King, and many more, the award pays tribute to those who find ways through sports to make a difference far beyond the field of play and impact the world in indelible ways.
The Arthur Ashe Courage Award
The Arthur Ashe Courage Award is presented each year to individuals whose contributions transcend sports. Past honorees include: Jim Valvano (1993); Steve Palermo (1994); Howard Cosell (1995); Loretta Claiborne (1996); Muhammad Ali (1997); Dean Smith (1998); Billie Jean King (1999); Dave Sanders (2000); Olympian Cathy Freeman (2001); Todd Beamer, Mark Bingham, Tom Burnett and Jeremy Glick, four passengers who lost their lives September 11 on United Flight 93 (2002); Pat and Kevin Tillman (2003); Liberian-born soccer legend George Weah (2004); disabled athletes Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah and Jim MacLaren (2005); Afghan female athletes (2006); and Trevor Ringland and Dave Cullen for their work with PeacePlayers (2007); U.S. Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos (2008); former president Nelson Mandela (2009); the Thomas family of Parkersburg, IA (2010); boxer Dewey Bozella (2011); women's basketball coach Pat Summitt (2012); Robin Roberts (2013), Michael Sam (2014), Caitlyn Jenner (2015), Zaevion Dobson (2016), Eunice Kennedy Shriver (2017), "Sister Survivors" (2018), Bill Russell (2019) and Kevin Love (2020).