May 20 (UPI) — Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love, Minnesota Lynx star Maya Moore and New England Patriots defensive backs Devin and Jason McCourty were among the finalists for the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award for their contributions in the community.
ESPN, which will air a combined show June 21 with the sixth annual Sports Humanitarian Awards and 2020 ESPY Awards, announced the finalists Wednesday.
Minnesota Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz and WWE star Titus O’Neil joined Love, Moore and the McCourty twins as finalists for the award, which is given to an athlete “whose continuous, demonstrated leadership has created a measured positive impact on their community through sports.”
“ESPN recognizes that this year more than ever, athletes, teams and leagues have been leading the way in responding to the needs of communities across the country and the world,” Kevin Martinez, vice president of ESPN Corporate Citizenship, said in a statement.
“For six years, ESPN has been honored to telecast the Sports Humanitarian Awards, which highlights the impact that sports has to create social change, and we’re excited to carry that narrative through the ESPYS and our other platforms.”
Love, who has openly discussed his battle with anxiety and depression, is developing an education curriculum designed to destigmatize depression and anxiety through his Kevin Love Fund.
Moore, a former WNBA MVP and a five-time All-Star selection, put her WNBA career on hold in 2019 to pursue justice for Jonathan Irons. As a minor in 1998, he was sentenced to 50 years in prison for burglary and assault. In March, a judge overturned Irons’ conviction.
The McCourty twins used their platforms to fight for criminal justice reform for juveniles and educational reform in Massachusetts. Through their efforts, the Massachusetts Legislature passed a bill that will invest $ 1.5 billion in the state’s public education system over the next seven years.
Cruz has completely upgraded the infrastructure of his hometown of Las Matas de Santa Cruz in the Dominican Republic, while O’Neil is helping transform a magnet school into an education and community hub in Tampa, Fla.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Denver Broncos, New York City FC and the Sacramento Kings were named finalists for the Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year, which is awarded to a franchise that had a significant impact on a community or cause.