The 10 Most Emotional Moments in ESPYs History, From Caitlyn Jenner to Jim Valvano
You don't have to be a sports fan to enjoy the ESPY Awards — or to appreciate all of the inspiring, moving, and emotional stories that the night often delivers. This year's ceremony was no exception, from Caitlyn Jenner's powerful speech to Devon Still's tear-jerking talk about his daughter, but it's certainly not the first time the ESPYs has had us reaching for the tissues. Here's a look back at some of the most emotional moments in ESPYs history, from 2015 to 1993.
1. Caitlyn Jenner's speech (2015)
Accepting this year's Arthur Ashe Award for Courage, Jenner moved the audience to tears at several moments — but especially when she talked about her family: "I never wanted to hurt anyone else, most of all my family and my kids. I always wanted my children to be so proud of their dad."
2. Devon Still's and Leah Still's speeches (2015)
Hearing Devon Still talk about his five-year-old daughter Leah's battle with cancer was heartrending, but Leah's message brought tears to even the driest of eyes: "Thank you for supporting me while I beat up cancer," she said in a sweet video message.
3. Lauren Hill's tribute (2015)
It's impossible not to get chills watching video of Lauren Hill, who passed away in April from an inoperable brain tumor, fulfill her dream of playing in her first college basketball game.
4. Michael Sam's speech (2014)
Sam's tearful speech while accepting the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage was as inspiring as it was moving: "To anyone out there, especially young people feeling like they don't fit in and will never be accepted, please know this: Great things can happen when you have the courage to be yourself."
5. Stuart Scott's speech (2014)
Scott's speech — given just months before he passed away from cancer — is already an ESPYs icon, just a year later, and for good reason: "When you die, that does not mean you lose to cancer," Scott said. "You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live. So live, live, fight like hell. And when you get too tired, [lie] down, rest and let someone else fight for you."
6. Eric LeGrand's speech (2012)
If you need a major dose of courage and inspiration, watching LeGrand's speech, where he recounts his paralyzing injury received during a Rutgers football game in 2010 — and the constant battle he fights to walk again someday.
7. Pat Summitt's speech (2012)
Pat Summitt may have been brief in her ESPYs acceptance speech, but that doesn't mean her words came any less loaded with emotion and meaning. She spoke about her battle with Alzheimer's, saying: "It is time to fight. I ask all of you to join me together so we will win. I can tell you tonight, I am deeply touched as all of you heard my story. I'm going to keep on keeping on, I promise you that."
8. Dewey Bozella's speech (2011)
This might be one of the most remarkable stories in ESPYs history: Bozella, who spent 26 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit, took the stage in 2011 to talk about never giving up his fight for justice — or his fight to get back into the boxing ring.
9. Kay Yow's speech (2007)
Yow was the first recipient of the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance, and hearing her accept the award in her friend's memory gave us all the feels.
10. Jim Valvano's speech (1993)
It was the first ESPY Awards, some 22 years ago, but every word of Jimmy Valvano's speech — just a month before he died from cancer — lives on today: "Don't give up. Don't ever give up."
What is your favorite ESPY moment of all time?
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