Talk about a real life hero! The 15-year-old boy from Knoxville, Tennessee who was shot and killed back in December, is being honored by ESPN with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Sacrificing his own life, the athlete tragically died saving the lives of 3 young girls.
Zaevion Dobson, a promising football player, gave the ultimate sacrifice when he used his body to shield three girls from gunfire on the evening of Dec. 17, 2015. Zaevion ended up getting shot in the head and passing away at the scene. He was only 15 years old. And while he could have ran and protected himself, he stayed to help those around him, which is why ESPN is honoring the young hero with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at this year’s ESPYS.
“If it wasn’t for Zaevion, if he would have just ran off the porch, we would have probably been shot,” Kiara Rucker, one of the teenage girls who Zaevion protected, told CBS affiliate WVLT at the time of the attack. Another girl the athlete saved, Faith Gordon, declared on Twitter, “You’re my hero, I’ll never forget you.”
If that isn’t true heroism, then we don’t know what is. And ESPN agrees. “There’s nothing more courageous than somebody sacrificing their own life for somebody else,” Maura Mandt, the executive producer for the ESPYS, said. And that’s exactly why Zaevion will be the youngest person EVER to win the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYCS on July 13.
Zaevion was a sophomore at Fulton High School in Knoxville, Tennessee when he died on Dec. 17 while protecting friends from a shooting. The girls shielded by Zaevion were unhurt, Knoxville police said at the time. And in the days after the teen’s untimely death, President Barack Obama, along with many others, sent a tweet praising the teen’s actions. He wrote, “He was a hero at 15. What’s our excuse for not acting?” He also referenced Zaevion in a January speech on gun violence, calling his decision “an act of heroism a lot bigger than we should expect from a 15-year-old.”
Zaevion Dobson died saving three friends from getting shot. He was a hero at 15. What’s our excuse for not acting? https://t.co/hn98uGsjKZ
— President Obama (@POTUS) December 20, 2015
Zaevion’s mother, Zenobia Dobson, will be the one accepting the award on her son’s behalf during the ESPYS ceremony. His brothers, Zackelyn Dobson and Markastin Taylor, are also expected to attend. “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t cry,” Zenobia revealed about losing her son. “I’m just so honored to be his mother… I will always love him in my heart, but since his passing, I love him even more. I draw closer to him every day.”
Previous winners of the Ashe Courage Award have included Muhammad Ali, Dean Smith, Billie Jean King, Pat Summitt, Michael Sam, Caitlyn Jenner, and four United Flight 93 passengers who helped prevent a Sept. 11 hijacking in 2001.
Tell us, HollywoodLifers — do you think Zaevion was a good choice for this year’s Arthur Ashe Award?