A young fan of the New Orleans Saints who rose to celebrity status after being “adopted” by Saints players will be honored with the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the 25th ESPY Awards on ABC next month.
Jarrius “JJ” Robertson, who has a chronic liver disease called biliary atresia, has been in and out of hospitals for all of his 15 years. During one stay at Ochsner Hospital for Children in 2015, he was visited by members of the New Orleans Saints, who were impressed by his attitude, energy and wit.
He made several visits to Saints camp in Metairie and was dubbed the team’s “hype man” and social media master. He came to the public’s attention after telling Carolina Panthers players they were not allowed to dance or celebrate in “his” end zone during warmups before an October game.
He was then interviewed on “Good Morning America.”
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Earlier this year, Robertson was back in the hospital, this time for a liver transplant. He has had two transplants and 13 surgeries in his life. But as soon as he’s able, he’s back to cheering on the Saints and is a fixture at home and away games, as well as team practices.
The Jimmy V Perseverance Award is given to a deserving member of the sporting world who has overcome great obstacles through perseverance and determination. In 2007, Women’s College basketball coach Kay Yow became the very first recipient of the award.
The award is named after and inspired by the late Jim Valvano who, while battling cancer, gave an emotional acceptance speech at the 1993 ESPYS that included his famous words “Don’t Give Up . . . Don’t Ever Give Up!” Valvano died less than two months later, but his words were never forgotten.
“We are so lucky to be honoring such a determined and passionate individual,” said ESPYS executive producer Maura Mandt. “It may be his unparalleled enthusiasm and infectious positivity that make Jarrius “JJ” Robertson the number one New Orleans Saints superfan, but it is his unbreakable spirit that will be celebrated this year.”
The 25th annual ESPYS celebration will be televised live from the Microsoft Theater at 7 p.m. July 12 on ABC.
Jimmy V Perseverance Award
It is named in honor of college basketball coach Jim Valvano. Although it is a sport-oriented award, it is not limited to sports-related people or actions.
- 2007 - Kay Yow
- 2008 - Kevin Everett
- 2009 - Don Meyer
- 2010 - George Karl
- 2011 - Anthony Robles
- 2012 - Eric LeGrand
- 2013 - Team Hoyt
- 2014 - Stuart Scott
- 2015 - Leah and Devon Still
- 2016 - Craig Sager