This sports year has been filled with some pretty emotional moments, but nothing was more memorable than the courage, love, and faith shown at last night’s 2015 ESPY Awards.
Hosted by comedian Joel McHale, the show honored sports’ biggest and brightest stars. LeBron James, Stephen Curry, the USA women’s soccer team, and MMA fighter Ronda Rousey took home awards, but there were other winners that shined bright on and off their respected playing fields.
Here are some of the show’s biggest and most emotional moments:
First, there was Mo’ne Davis, who won the “Best Breakthrough Athlete” award. The 14-year-old led her team to victory in the 2014 Little League World Series, in which she was also the first African-American girl to play. While accepting her award, the teen thanked her parents and sent love to all of her fans.
Basketball star and army veteran Danielle Green’s story is an American tale. After playing five years as a point guard at Notre Dame, she went on to serve her country in Iraq. During her tour, Green lost her arm from the elbow down in an explosion from a rocket-propelled grenade. Returning home, she received a Purple Heart and displayed elegance by accepting the Pat Tillman Award last night. Green challenged many in her acceptance speech to find their purpose in life.
For The Win reports: “If my story leaves you with one thing tonight, I hope it leaves you with a challenge,” she shared. “Ask yourself: What’s my purpose? What’s my passion? What do I want my legacy to be? How can I live as a full human being?” She added, “We can all find ways to support the people around us. We can all find a purpose on this Earth larger than yourself.”
After getting her Masters in counseling, the 38-year-old is now assisting military veterans. #BlackGirlMagic.
One of the most talked about moments of the evening was Caitlyn Jenner‘s speech for the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Caitlyn — formally Bruce — touched on how sports were a driving force for her courage and urged other athletes to use their platform to inspire. Jenner has become voice in the transgender community since announcing her transition with Diane Sawyer in May. She will also share more of her story on the docuseries I Am Cait, set to premiere on E! on July 26.
Jenner showed love to her Kardashian-Jenner clique, her mother, and pressed the need for everyone to be themselves, no matter the scrutiny they face.
“Trans people deserve something vital: They deserve your respect,” Jenner said. “If you want to call me names, make jokes, doubt my intentions, go ahead, because the reality is, I can take it. But for the thousands of kids out there, coming to terms with being true to who they are, they shouldn’t have to take it. It’s about what happens from here,” Jenner concluded. “It’s not just about one person. It’s about thousands of people. It’s not just about me. It’s about all of us accepting one another.”
Jenner’s speech became a trending topic, but there was also another moment than drove everyone to tears…
Devon Still accepted the Jimmy V Perseverance Award on behalf of his 4-year-old daughter, Leah. After being diagnosed with cancer last year, Leah’s journey and strength won over America’s hearts. The Bengals player began his speech by discussing how Leah’s diagnosis turned their world upside down. No matter the troubles and pain chemo and radiation brought his daughter, she stayed strong — #LeahStrong that is — inspiring Devon not to turn to vices like drinking.
“You know, on TV I look like a hero. I look like I’m saving the day, but honestly y’all are the real heroes,” Still said. “For every child out there that’s battling cancer … y’all are the real heroes. I am here today to let y’all know, as long as I have this platform I’m going to continue to fight for you.”
Leah was unable to attend the show, but thanked everyone in an adorable video message. “Sorry I couldn’t be there everybody, but thank you for supporting me while I beat out cancer,” said Leah. “Hey LeBron, hey daddy.”
Check out Devon’s touching speech below.
See the night’s biggest winners here.
Catch All The Action From The 2015 ESPY Awards Red Carpet
1. Russell Wilson and CiaraSource:Getty 1 of 29
2. CiaraSource:Getty 2 of 29
3. Derek Jeter and Model Hannah DavisSource:Getty 3 of 29
4. Odell Beckham Jr.Source:Getty 4 of 29
5. Destinee HookerSource:Getty 5 of 29
6. Robin RobertsSource:Getty 6 of 29
7. Evander HolyfieldSource:Getty 7 of 29
8. Ronda RouseySource:Getty 8 of 29
9. WWE wrestlers Brie Bella (L) and Nikki BellaSource:Getty 9 of 29
10. Ronda RouseySource:Getty 10 of 29
11. Brandon LaFellSource:Getty 11 of 29
12. Roman ReignsSource:Getty 12 of 29
13. Ben SimmonsSource:Getty 13 of 29
14. Joel McHaleSource:Getty 14 of 29
15. Justice WinslowSource:Getty 15 of 29
16. Lisa LeslieSource:Getty 16 of 29
17. Christen PressSource:Getty 17 of 29
18. Ron HunterSource:Getty 18 of 29
19. Jarvis LandrySource:Getty 19 of 29
20. J.J. WattSource:Getty 20 of 29
21. Ricardo LocketteSource:Getty 21 of 29
22. Alex RodriguezSource:Getty 22 of 29
23. Britney SpearsSource:Getty 23 of 29
24. Hope Solo and NFL player Jerramy StevensSource:Getty 24 of 29
25. FabolousSource:Getty 25 of 29
26. Kylie JennerSource:Getty 26 of 29
27. Kendall and Kylie JennerSource:Getty 27 of 29
28. Halle BerrySource:Getty 28 of 29
29. Jake Gyllenhaal and Rachel McAdamsSource:Getty 29 of 29
From Devon & Leah Still To Caitlyn Jenner — The Most Emotional Moments At The 2015 ESPYs was originally published on newsone.com