Lynx forward Maya Moore, Patriots defensive backs Devin and Jason McCourty, Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz, Cavaliers forward Kevin Love and WWE star Titus O’Neil were named finalists Wednesday for the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award for their work in the community.
The winner of the award, given to an athlete whose demonstrated leadership has created a positive impact on their community through sports, will be named at the ESPYs, to be aired on ESPN on June 21.
Moore, a five-time All-Star and former WNBA MVP, took a leave from the game in 2019 to pursue justice for Jonathan Irons, who as a minor in 1993 had been sentenced to 50 years in prison for burglary and assault. In March, Irons’ conviction was overturned by a judge who called the initial finding weak, circumstantial and marked with inconsistencies.
The McCourtys have mounted several efforts for criminal justice reform for juveniles and educational reform in Massachusetts. Partly 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, focusing on underfunded schools with low-income students.
Cruz has transformed the infrastructure of his hometown of Las Matas De Santa Cruz in the Dominican Republic. He has secured a fire engine and an ambulance, built a new police station, contributed wheelchairs and crutches, and he annually brings dentists and optometrists to a local clinic to provide checkups, medicine and eyewear.
Love has spoken openly about his own anxiety and depression, and through his Kevin Love Fund is developing an education curriculum designed to destigmatize anxiety and depression.
O’Neill is helping transform a magnet school into an innovative education and community hub in Tampa, Florida.
The winner will be able to direct a $100,000 grant from ESPN to a charity related to their humanitarian efforts.
The finalists will recceive a $25,000 grant for their charity.