A 15-year-old football player who gave his life shielding two young women from gunfire will receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at this year’s ESPYS ceremony, ESPN reports.
Zaevion Dobson, a sophomore at Fulton High School in Knoxville, Tennessee, was killed on December 17 in a drive-by shooting. The two classmates he protected with his body survived the incident. Police believe the shooters were involved in an earlier altercation near Dobson’s neighborhood and were in the area looking for retaliation.
Dobson is the award’s youngest recipient of the ESPYS’ highest honor, which was first given out in 1993. The award recognizes individuals who embody the spirit of Ashe and dedicate their lives to causes they believe in.
“There’s nothing more courageous than somebody sacrificing their own life for somebody else,” said Maura Mandt, executive producer for the ESPYS.
President Barack Obama honored Dobson on Twitter in December, calling him a “hero.” He also mentioned the teen in an emotional speech on gun control reform back in January.
Dobson’s mother, Zenobia, said her son was a gentle spirit who stood up for everyone. He had dreams of playing football professionally. She will accept the award on her son’s behalf at the ceremony in Los Angeles on July 17.
“I’m just so honored to be his mother,” Zenobia Dobson said. “I will always love him in my heart, but since his passing, I love him even more. I draw closer to him every day. I visit him at the cemetery every day, and I just talk to him every day, every single day.”
Past award winners include transgender activist and Olympian Caitlyn Jenner, former NFL player Michael Sam, and award-winning broadcast journalist Robin Roberts.
SOURCES: ESPN | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter
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