LaMelo Ball added to his trophy case after winning the ESPY for Best Breakthrough Athlete in New York City over the weekend. This comes less than a month after being named 2020-21 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year.
Ball beat out candidates such as the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in Justin Herbert (Los Angeles Chargers quarterback), NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, Chase Young (Washington Football Team defensive lineman), and WNBA Rookie of the Year Crystal Dangerfield (Minnesota Lynx guard).
He made himself relatable to everyone by admitting he forgot the speech that he had prepared.
“I forgot everything,” he said. “I can only think about my family right now. And my momma.”
LaMelo made the Hornets a must-see attraction this season with his flashy passes and exciting brand of basketball. After beginning the campaign as a bench player, he became one of the most promising youngsters in the NBA as a starter.
The third overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, averaged 15.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.6 steals in 28 minutes per game. He is the only player in the last 60 years to lead all rookies in total points, rebounds, assists, and steals at the All-Star break.
Despite suffering a broken wrist that forced him to miss a month of play, he eventually returned to help the Hornets to a Play-In Tournament spot.
Past winners of the award include Tiger Woods in 1997, Tom Brady in 2002 and LeBron James in 2004.