ESPN has announced that WWE Superstar John Cena is among the four finalists for the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award, joining Seattle Seahawk Doug Baldwin, Golden States Warrior Kevin Durant and Houston Texan J.J. Watt. The award winner will be announced July 19 at the 4th Annual Sports Humanitarian Awards in Los Angeles, the night before the ESPYS. The event will air on ESPN.
— WWE (@WWE) June 19, 2018
From the ESPN announcement:
The Ali award is part of the fourth annual Sports Humanitarian Awards, which will take place at The Novo at L.A. Live the night before the ESPYS. The awards, televised on July 24 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN, honor athletes, teams and sports industry professionals who use the power of sport to make a difference in the world.
The awards are presented by ESPN and sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb Company.
Multiple sports leagues and/or governing bodies — including MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL, NHL, USTA, WNBA and WWE, as well as the Women’s Sports Foundation — nominated athletes, teams and corporations who are transforming lives and uplifting communities.
The finalists and winners have been determined by an independent selection committee, which includes: Nick Keller, Founder and President of Beyond Sport; Donald Lassere, CEO of the Muhammad Ali Center; Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, CEO of Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA; Sab Singh, Founder of Sports Doing Good; Caryl Stern, CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF; and Eli Wolff, Director of the Power of Sport Lab and the Sport and Society Initiative at Brown University.
Net proceeds of the event benefit the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund at the V Foundation. Last year, more than $2 million was donated to the community on behalf of the Sports Humanitarian Awards. ESPN will also make a donation on behalf of the nominees. Lilly Oncology is returning as an event sponsor.
It’s no secret that John Cena gives a large portion of his time, both at WWE Live Events and in his free time, to working with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Several years ago, he shattered the record for celebrity Make-A-Wishes granted to sick kids, with a count that is well over 550 visits. To put that in perspective, only five other celebrities have granted more than 200: Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Michael Jordan, Justin Bieber and fellow wrestler Hulk Hogan. Cena also is the only celebrity to pass the 300 mark.