LOS ANGELES (AP) — Lauren Hill was honored Wednesday night at the ESPY Awards for the best moment.
Hill inspired people with her fight against brain cancer and raised over $1.5 million for cancer research before she died April 10. The Division III women’s basketball player just wanted to play one game in college.
The NCAA agreed to let Hill’s team, Mount St. Joseph, move up its opening game against Hiram College by two weeks because her condition was deteriorating. Xavier University offered its 10,000-seat arena so more people could attend. Tickets sold out in less than an hour.
She ended up playing in four games and made five layups. LeBron James sent her gifts and tweeted how much of an inspiration she was. James looked on as Hill’s parents accepted the trophy at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
“If she were here today standing on this stage, she would ask you not to sit on the bench,” her mother Lisa said. “Please don’t wait until you’re personally affected by cancer to start kicking cancer’s butt.”
There was online backlash when ESPN decided to honor Caitlyn Jenner with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, with many believing Hill was more deserving.
Hill’s mother told USA Today that she wanted to make it clear to Jenner that her family had nothing to do with the criticism.
“I don’t think (Lauren) would have had a strong opinion on (the award) either way, to be honest,” Lisa Hill said. “She was pretty down-to-earth. She respected (people from) all walks of life and people who were different. She would have never been judgmental or harsh or anything like that. That’s just not who she was.”