Knoxville teen Zaevion Dobson will posthumously receive the Arthur Ashe Award at the 2016 ESPY Awards.

Dobson, 15, died shielding two girls from gunfire in the Lonsdale area of Northwest Knoxville on Dec. 17, 2015.

“The Ashe Award is one of the most prestigious in sports,” according to “Recipients reflect the spirit of Arthur Ashe, possessing 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.”

Dobson’s mother, Zenobia Dobson, will accept the award on his behalf during the July 13 ESPYs ceremony from the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles, according to The Associated Press. Dobson’s brothers, Zackelyn Dobson and Markastin Taylor, also are expected to attend.

ESPN has given the Arthur Ashe Award each year since 1993. Zaevion Dobson was a sophomore football player at Fulton High School in Knoxville, and will be the youngest person ever to win the award.

  • Past winners have included: 
  • 1993 Jim Valvano
  • 1994 Steve Palermo
  • 1995 Howard Cosell
  • 1996 Loretta Claiborne
  • 1997 Muhammad Ali
  • 1998 Dean Smith
  • 1999 Billie Jean King
  • 2000 William David Sanders
  • 2001 Cathy Freeman
  • 2002 Todd Beamer Mark Bingham Tom Burnett and Jeremy Glick
  • 2003 Pat Tillman and Kevin Tillman
  • 2004 George Weah
  • 2005 Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah and Jim MacLaren
  • 2006 Roia Ahmad and Shamila Kohestani
  • 2007 Trevor Ringland and David Cullen from Peace Players International
  • 2008 Tommie Smith and John Carlos
  • 2009 Nelson Mandela
  • 2010 Family of Ed Thomas
  • 2011 Dewey Bozella
  • 2012Pat Summitt
  • 2013 Robin Roberts
  • 2014 Michael Sam
  • 2015 Caitlyn Jenner

President Barack Obama praised Zaevion Dobson’s actions in January.

"He gave his life to save theirs. An act of heroism a lot bigger than anything we should ever expect from a 15-year-old," Obama said on Jan. 5, 2016.

Days after Zaevion Dobson’s death, Obama said in a tweet, “He was a hero at 15. What's our excuse for not acting?”

Sideline reporter Craig Sager will receive with the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the 2016 ESPYs. Sager, who is well known for his colorful attire and personality, continues to fight leukemia.

WWE star John Cena will host the 2016 ESPYs.

ESPN will broadcast the ESPY Awards on July 13 at 8 p.m. ET.