ATLANTA — In challenging times, sports have always brought the city together and unity is needed now more than ever. The Atlanta Sports Council and 11Alive can’t think of a better way to re-energize the sports community and recognize the hard work of the athletes, teams and icons who continue to shape Atlanta’s sports history.
While many of the awards were voted on by you, The Atlanta Sports Council and 11Alive Sports determined the winners of a few categories, including the Unsung Hero Award, sponsored by the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. The Unsung Hero Award focuses on organizations, teams and athletes who stand out in their efforts to improve the Atlanta community.
Four winners were selected: The Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta Hawks, Atlanta Dream and Atlanta Braves, with representatives describing their specific work to improve Atlanta.
The announcement was first made on-air during 11Alive News, and a full presentation of the awards will be held Aug. 15 during a one-hour special.
During a time when sports were at a halt, many stepped up.
Whether it was to help in coronavirus relief efforts, or take action in the fight against social injustice, many teams and athletes stepped up to help the city of Atlanta.
The Braves and AMB Group, who owns the Falcons and Atlanta United F.C., donated $1 million to its game day staff who were without a job or paycheck during the sports hiatus. Both groups also fired up their stadium kitchens to provide thousands of meals while families suffered from food shortages.
The Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta Dream, specifically Dreams player Renee Montgomery, have stepped up in the fight for social justice and equality. Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce immediately spoke out following a string of deaths of African Americans because of police brutality and began leading the Hawks and NBA's effort to impact change. He was named to the NBA's seven-person committee focused on racial injustice. He spoke and marched at the Georgia NAACP’s "March on Georgia" protest march, which was organized to demand an end to systemic racism, police brutality, and voter suppression.
In June, Montgomery announced she was sitting out the 2020 WNBA regular season to continue the fight for social justice. She began a voters' registration campaign named "Remember the 3rd in November." The campaign is not meant to be political, rather to teach citizens about politics and how government works so they are properly informed before the general election in November. Montgomery also began an initiative called "The Last Yard," which provides grants to students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities who need financial assistance so they don't drop out of school.
These are just a few of the ways all of these organizations have stepped up and done valuable work for Atlanta and the surrounding communities.
- Week of July 27: Lifetime Achievement Award announcement
- August 3: Outstanding Coach presented by The Home Depot
- August 4: Outstanding College Athlete
- August 5: Outstanding Esports Competitor
- August 6: Unsung Hero Award presented by the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation
- August 7: Positive Athlete presented by Southern Company
- August 10: Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Coca-Cola
- August 11: Top Sports Moment presented by Mercedes-Benz
- August 12: Outstanding Professional Athlete presented by Truist
- August 13: Outstanding Sports Team
- August 14: Team 11 High School Athlete (High School category determined by 11Alive)
- August 15: One-hour special airs on 11 Alive at 7 p.m.
- August 16: One-hour special re-airs on 11 Alive at 11 a.m. and at 8 p.m. on WATL