On Thursday night, at the 2016 ESPY Awards, ESPN will recognize the Arthur Ashe Courage Award recipient, an athlete whose contributions “transcend sports.” This year Zaevion Dobson will be the honoree, but his family will have to accept the award in his place. Here are 5 things to know about who Zaevion was.
He died protecting other people
In December 2015, Dobson was killed using his body to shield two girls from barraging gunfire. Neither of the girls he protected were injured, but said they probably would have been if he had chosen to run away and protect himself.
He was only 15
Dobson was a sophomore at Fulton High School in northern Knoxville. At age 15, he will be the youngest person ever to with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, and also the first to win it posthumously since Pat Tillman in 2003, who was killed serving in the Army in Afghanistan.
He was a student-athlete and beloved mentor to his peers
Zaevion played football for his high school’s team and was also a mentor of the 100 Black Men of Greater Knoxville. He was known for always smiling, laughing and brightening up people’s days.
His mother will be accepting his award in his place
Zaevion’s mother, Zenobia Dobson, will accept the Award on his behalf, accompanied by his brothers Zack Dobson and Markastin Taylor.
His death affected many across the country
Dobson was honored in a special tribute before the 2016 Super Bowl and recognized by President Obama as an inspiration for the need to take action against violence.
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 (@POTUS44) December 20, 2015
And ESPN’s tribute to him included this emotional video, narrated by Michael B. Jordan: