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Bueckers’ speech at ESPY Awards draws rave reviews

The former Hopkins standout used her platform to advocate for Black female athletes.

Paige Bueckers won the ESPY Award for best college women's athlete on Saturday night and used her platform to advocate for Black female athletes. 

Bueckers was celebrated for her sensational freshman season with the Connecticut women's basketball team but acknowledged that as a white woman in a predominantly Black sport, she gets disproportionate media coverage.

Buckers noted that 80 percent of the WNBA's award winners last season were Black but got half the amount of coverage as the white athletes.

"I think we should use this power together to celebrate Black women," Bueckers said in her speech. "To all the incredible Black women in my life, on my teams. To Breonna Taylor and all the lives lost. To those names I have not yet learned but I hope to share — I stand behind you and I will continue to follow you and follow your lead and fight for you guys." 

The speech also drew rave reviews on social media.

Meanwhile, Minnesota Lynx forward Maya Moore was honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award for her work on criminal justice reform. 

The Minnesota Lynx forward left the team in 2019 to advocate for the release of Jonathan Irons, who was serving a 50-year prison sentence after being wrongly convicted of burglary and assault.

Irons's sentence was overturned last year and Moore married Irons last September.

"When I met Jonathan, we both knew that we had different life experiences," Moore recalled in her speech. "But we stepped out of our comfort zone, developed a friendship and now we have become more of who we were destined to be."

Moore also mentioned her efforts of Win With Justice which seeks to advance a fair and equitable criminal justice system.

"Power is not meant to be gripped with a clenched fist," Moore said. "Power is meant to be handled generously so we can thoughtfully empower one another to thrive in our communities...championing our humanity before our ambitions."

Former Gonzaga guard Jaylen Suggs also took home an award as part of the Best Game ESPY. The former Minnehaha Academy standout drilled a 40-foot buzzer beater to win the game and send the Bulldogs to the national championship game.

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