The Sports Xchange, Published July 18 2013
Robin Roberts' courage on display at ESPYs
Best Male Athlete. LeBron James. Check.
Best Championship Performance. LeBron James. Check.
Best NBA Player. LeBron James. Check.
Despite once again winning a handful of bests, one of the best moments for the four-time MVP and two-time NBA champion was when James presented the Arthur Ashe Courage Award to "Good Morning America" co-anchor Robin Roberts.
That was after First Lady Michelle Obama introduced the 52-year-old former ESPN anchor and Tom Cruise narrated an emotional video tribute to one of the first female sports anchors back in the 1990s. And for the past two decades, she has been on "Good Morning America."
But it has been her battle against breast cancer and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a deadly disease that required a bone marrow transplant, which has inspired many.
As she accepted her award, she thanked her family, friends, and fans for all of their support and love during her treatment: "I didn't find that strength on my own -- it's a quality that grew with every word of support."
Roberts was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. Following treatment that included surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, she became a vocal spokesperson in the fight against the disease.
But a rare side effect from the treatment was MDS. She would need a bone marrow transplant to survive. In the days after her emotional announcement, a national registry of bone marrow donors reported a 1,800 percent increase in donors.
The Arthur Ashe Courage Award is awarded to those who "reflect the spirit of Arthur Ashe, possessing strength in the face of adversity, courage in the face of peril and the willingness to stand up for their beliefs no matter what the cost."
Previous winners of the award include Jim Valvano, Muhammad Ali, Pat Tillman, passengers on Flight 93 who died on Sept. 11 and Nelson Mandela.
"When fear knocks, answer the door," Roberts told the audience in a speech that touched many.
James had serious challenge in repeating as the Best Male Athlete.
Detroit Tigers Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and Olympic champion Michael Phelps were also in the running.
But it was the "King" who took home the hardware.
"To be in a category with All-Day AP, the Triple-Crown winner, and the human fish, it's an honor," said James, who led the Heat to a franchise-record 66-16 record this past season. "Just to be in a class with you guys is an unbelievable honor. This is for all four of us. I'm just going to keep it (the ESPY) at my house."
Other winners from Wednesday night included:
Coach-Manager: Rick Pitino, Louisville Cardinals;
Breakthrough Athlete: Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers;
Record-Breaking Performance: Michael Phelps'
Play: Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina football vs. Michigan in the Outback Bowl;
Moment: Jack Hoffman touchdown at Nebraska spring game;
Upset: No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast beats No. 2 seed Georgetown in NCAA Tournament;
Male Golfer: Tiger Woods;
Female Golfer: Stacey Lewis;
Male Tennis Player: Novak Djokovic;
Female Tennis Player: Serena Williams;
International athlete: Usain Bolt.