Speaking to the News’s “Confidenti@l” after receiving an Arthur Ashe Courage Award during the ESPY awards Wednesday, Roberts shared how the city’s people gave her support. “Let me tell you, cabbies would roll down their windows; people would be shouting,” she said. “You think New Yorkers don’t care and are distant and all that, but they just showed me nothing but love.”
Roberts also revealed that upon returning to her Upper West Side apartment after her most recent hospital stay, she waved to fans outside. “I just ran to the window, looked out and raised my hands, and it was a real inspiration to help me … that New Yorkers were there. They’re my second home, after being from the South.”
Roberts was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, undergoing a successful surgery to have it removed. Last year, she was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a rare blood disorder. Her sister, Sally-Ann Roberts, donated bone marrow in a successful transplant last fall. Fans admired Roberts for her unrelenting courage through both medical ordeals, keeping viewers updated on her conditions.
“There are some people who say, ‘Why do you want to get back to work?’ ” she said. “But you want to go back to your life. And it’s quite apparent that I enjoy what I do. I wanted to show people what it is like to live with an illness.”
Roberts admitted during her speech that she’s dealing with an unusual side effect from receiving her sister’s bone marrow.
“Now I have her DNA, so I already have a sweet tooth and I didn’t have a sweet tooth before,” she said. “It’s a medical miracle marvel. I think the last count is that I am now 90 percent of my sister.”
She joked that she plans on doing much more than just broadcast journalism. “I really want to play a judge on ‘Law & Order,’ ” she cracked.
Roberts made history in the 1990s when she became ESPN’s first Black broadcaster.