Watch Robin Roberts' touching speech at ESPYs
July 18th, 2013
11:57 AM ET

Watch Robin Roberts' touching speech at ESPYs

Robin Roberts wanted to be a sports journalist in an era when women, let alone women of color, weren't seen in that role.

But, as the "Good Morning America" co-anchor told the audience at the ESPY awards Wednesday, she doesn't let fear stop her.

The inspirational media figure was honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage award, a recognition given to someone who reflects "strength in the face of adversity, courage in the face of peril, and the willingness to stand up for their beliefs no matter what the cost."

Roberts, who was radiant in a red gown, graciously accepted the award with a speech that has become one of the night's most memorable moments.

"I realize there are many worthy of holding this honor. Others who have exhibited far more courage, strength and resilience," Roberts said. "It's humbling for me to represent you tonight. I draw strength from you. You give me the courage to face down any challenge, to know that when fear knocks, to let faith answer the door."

Roberts has been a living example of that philosophy as she's faced two life-threatening health problems. The sports journalist and broadcaster was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, and then with a rare blood disorder called myelodysplastic syndrome in 2012.

After receiving a bone marrow transplant with the aid of her sister Sally Ann, Roberts was able to recover and return to "GMA," stronger than ever.

"Those of us who are fortunate to have overcome some form of illness or adversity are told that we are strong. I didn't find that strength on my own," she said Wednesday. "It was the kind that grew with every kind word of support - every tweet, every email, every phone call. ... Through it all, I learned that strength, true strength, isn't when you face down life's challenges on your own, it's when you take them on by accepting the help, faith and love of others and knowing that you are lucky to have those."

After the ceremony, Roberts tweeted that the ESPYs were "memorable for many reasons," not the least of which being the graciousness of the athlete who introduced her, LeBron James:


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soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Power Zone Sports

    Reblogged this on Power Zone Sports and commented:
    Inspiring a nation. Robin Roberts is an amazing woman. There is no one more deserving of a humanitarian or community pillar award. She is simply AWESOME!!!

    July 19, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jerry2334fg

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    July 19, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
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    July 19, 2013 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  4. ethridge wells

    robin Roberts is a classy lady that does not capitalize on her color or denigrate someone else for publicity. she advanced on talent and merit. she alone debunks the myth of Mississippi and their racial stereotype depicted by the main stream media. robins big break came at a local tv station in Biloxi ms. here dad ,a retired colonel in the air force, her mother a retired teacher and elected state representative, could have lived anywhere, but choose pass Christian, Mississippi. now why would prominent, well educated blacks choose to live in Mississippi? robin is the true example of Mississippians the most charitable state in the nation for many consecutive years. it was great to hear one black on tv not mention trayvon.

    July 19, 2013 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  5. jerry

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    July 19, 2013 at 4:02 am | Report abuse |
  6. Becky

    I like you Robin and you have been through alot, so have many others. Many others have done it without the massive support and top notch medical care so please remember this; they too have courage and strengh in their deepest of adversity. I would never criticize her because she has only shared with us her journey and has never been cruel on any front. I would have to gently argue that things happen for a reason. I just don't understand that concept. There is no reason for horrific diseases; my mom has Alzheimer's. My family no longer speaks to me or mom because my brother in law saw me in a bank with mom; they jumped to an unfounded conclusion that I was stealing mom's money. i travel the road of adversity with mom alone. Prayers to everyone facing adversity. There is no logical reason for human pain and suffering.

    July 19, 2013 at 3:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Barb

      There are websites/blogs out there for caregivers of people with Alzheimer's. Please look for them. You are taking on a quite a challenge and need all the support you can get. Ignore the others as best you can. Good Bless!
      One place to look may actually be AARP Website. Search for Caregivers Support. Also Google Caregiver's Support.

      July 19, 2013 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
  7. Charles W. Harris

    Robin thank you so very much for sharing your journey with us! Congratulations!! I know that all of us are still looking forward as you continue to inspire and inform us by your examples of leadership and courage. Bless you!!!

    July 19, 2013 at 2:06 am | Report abuse |
  8. Dave Paules

    Robin Roberts you are nothing less than a BEAUTIFUL woman. I have always admired you and always will.

    July 18, 2013 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. PHYLLIS CARROLL

    ROBIN-TO ME I AM CRAZY ABOUT YOU-I THINK YOU ARE SUCH A WONDER PERSON-WAY BEFORE YOU GOT SICK–ALL I KNOW IS I BELEIVE IN GOD AND I PRAYED FOR YOU MANY TIME-YOU ARE EVERYTHING TO MANY PEOPLE OF ALL WALKS OF LIFE-IF THIS WORLD COULD HAVE ONE THING–IT,S MORE LOVING PEOPLE LIKE YOU-MAY GOD STAY WITH YOU AN SEE YOU THREW THIS HEART BRAKING DIEASE-YOU ARE LOVE BY SO MANY-BECAUSE OF THE OF THE PERSON YOU ARE-I JUST LOST MY BROTHER TO LIVER CANCER-HE WAS 60 AN ALSO LOST MY HUSBAND TO CANCER-14 YEARS AGO-HE WAS 60-I KNOW HOW HEART BRAKEING THIS COULD BE–BUT THANKS TO YOUR LOVING SISTER TO HELP YOU LIVE-GOD BLESS YOU BOTH-YOU STILL ARE IN MY PRAYERS-AN I KNOW FOR WHAT YOU BEEN THREW THAT YOU WILL BEAT THIS-I AM THAT SURE-I ADMIRE YOUR COURGE TO KNOW END-LOVE YOU AN GOD SPEED.

    July 18, 2013 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. scarlet rodriguez

    what a beautiful speech from a beautiful woman inside and out

    July 18, 2013 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. MANDY HACKING UPDATES AS FOLLOWS...MISS19 PERSONAL CALLS AND HACKED IN TO THIS LAST AIR CALL THANKS

    1. HACKED INTO THE VISIBILE ACCOUNTS
    2. LEXIS ETC.... ALL DI'S FILE..
    3. DREW CAREY ALL TRANSLATED

    July 18, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Cancer Survivor 2x's over!

    Robin R. is just as beautiful inside and out as she is brave! I love the fact that she is just as beautiful without hair as she is with it! Thanks to ESPN for honoring her and allowing those who have not yet heard of her journey to become aware of her talented career before and after her cancer battles. She may not have my DNA but in my heart I will always consider her family for when I survived my battle with cancer I was privileged enough to follow along with her journey through the GMA broadcasts and it gave me strength not to give up!

    July 18, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jamie

    How long does she have left to liive?? I can't recall if it is 6 months or a year? Anybody know?

    July 18, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Duckie

      Well, seeing as how she's beat cancer and then beat myelodysplastic syndrome, thanks to her sister's bone marrow, I'd say she could have a long, healthy life ahead of her.

      I think it's awesome that the bone marrow donor registry increased by over 1000% in 24 hours because of all her fans and supporters. I was already on the registry.

      Now...how about you?

      July 18, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Laurie

      There are no limits. She is doing fine, the transplant took so there is no time limit. Good news.

      July 18, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      What kind of a question is that?

      July 18, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • 1rawhide

      Been wondering the same..... gr8 lady tho', .... I watch GMA each day, just to see RR ... each time I see a diff person as in the situation concerning her health issues, but God will see her thru' .. Josh today was very loving, sentimental, (long kisses on RR's head), so as the rest of the crew on GMA ...

      July 18, 2013 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Annette

    Susan Clark is very much alive, it was her husband Alex Karras who died in, think it was 2012.

    July 18, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. gyrtx

    Here we have a true example of fine American woman. My admiration goes to her. And as we can see it runs in the family. Seeing her sister and I had opportunity of seeing her mom.

    July 18, 2013 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Boo

    You're a cold hearted b!tch, Midge. I'm through with you...

    July 18, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Midge

    She looks terrible with short hair. Grow that out, lady!

    July 18, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  18. SusanGeller

    Awww I love Robin! She is so graceful and looked so elegant in that beautiful dress. I really want that dress and tried to find who made it but couldn't figure it out. The closest one I found was this one http://stylsk.co/18qfO6b

    July 18, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Laurie

    Robin, you are such a wonderful , strong and powerful woman in your fight for health. A success story that all of us are so happy to hear. Yes, we prayed for you, and will continue to pray that you and others will keep and regain their health. I so admire such strength and how you are able to put such heartfelt lovely words together to thank God and all who are by your side. Congratulations.

    July 18, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Emma

    I don't care for that Robin Roberts lady. She was ok as Alex Karras wife on Webster, but after that her acting has seemed embicillic.

    July 18, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cheryl

      Robin did not play Alex Karras's wife on the show Webster. His wife was played by Susan Clark who was his wife in real life. Get your facts straight. I lay you odds Robin has helped more people become aware of this illness and she richly deserves this award. You go Robin!

      July 18, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lee

      Lol. You're a Moron !!! Alex Karras's wife was a white woman. So dumb.

      July 18, 2013 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nadine Flores

      What in the World are YOU talking about .....Robin NEVER acted on Webster !!!. That role was played by another actress, whom I believed passed away years ago. I grew up watching that show every week. Go get your facts together lady.

      July 18, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Smiley Face

      :)

      July 18, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • PW

      She is not an actress. She is a news woman. You are thinking of someone else! Get your facts straight.

      July 18, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Boofsky

      happy days are here again!

      July 18, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Green Giant

      There's a turd in my sock.

      July 18, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  21. scarlett604

    Love Robin and admire her courage and praying the best is yet to come! Hey and M.A.P. – Unlike Robin, you are two examples of what is wrong with this world. I pray for you too!

    July 18, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Midge

    No my Boo he is fine

    July 18, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  23. M.A.P.

    Yeah, @hey, Boo says you need therapy and I agree!

    July 18, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Makes up dates and times...like we knows this a year already..ignore it.

    thanks

    July 18, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Alot of work creating new dates and times...i find that a waste.

    thanks

    July 18, 2013 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Peace ☮

    RR is a classy gal. Haven't seen her on GMA lately...I wonder why?

    July 18, 2013 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  27. hey

    we know and who cares.

    July 18, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Boo

    You need therapy....

    July 18, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  29. time and date changes...

    big secret ....wow

    July 18, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
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    xcb

    July 19, 2013 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |

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