She was nominated against fellow WNBA player Elena Delle Donne, swimmer Katie Ledecky and gymnast Simone Biles. Stewart led the Huskies to an unprecedented fourth straight NCAA title. She also won four straight NCAA tournament most outstanding player awards. In April, she was the first pick in the 2016 WNBA draft, the women’s college player of the year, and AP Player of the Year.
In her acceptance speech, Stewart thanked her fans, family, UConn, coaches, teammates and the media. She spoke of how during her time at UConn she received a lot of media attention, for which she was grateful. But playing in the WNBA now, she questions why the league’s athletes don’t receive the same amount of coverage as their male counterparts.
“I know that everyone in this room loves and supports women and girls in sports, and wants to be a part of that change, right?” Stewart said. “Equality for all takes each of us making an effort.”
“Together, let’s be better,” she said in closing.
LeBron James and fellow NBA stars Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade opened the ESPY Awards with a plea to address racial profiling and end the nation’s spate of gun violence.