Kevin Garnett, NBA Champion, MVP and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2020, will announce the basketball winners at the Cincinnati High School Sports Awards presented by Mercy Health. Garnett joins a list of newly released top athletes and celebrities who will be part of the show.
The Cincinnati High School Sports Awards are part of the largest high school sports recognition program in the country. Elite athletes in most state-sanctioned sports will be honored in an on-demand broadcast on the event website on June 30th at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
More:Shaquille O’Neal, Sue Bird, named Sportswoman of the Year at the Cincinnati High School Sports Awards
The Minnesota Timberwolves selected Kevin Garnett with their fifth overall pick in the 1995 NBA draft, becoming the first NBA player to be drafted straight out of high school in 20 years. Known for his intensity, defense skills and versatility, Garnett is considered one of the strongest strikers of all time. He is one of four NBA players to have won both Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year awards. Garnett was nominated for 15 All-Star Games, won the 2003 All-Star MVP Award, and currently ranks third in All-Star selections in NBA history.
The show is moderated by Laura Rutledge and Desmond Howard.
A native of Florida and 2012 Miss Florida, Rutledge now draws viewers as the host of ESPN’s NFL Live and SEC Networks SEC Nation. She has anchored SportsCenter and hosted red carpet coverage at both the Home Depot College Football Awards and the ESPYs. Rutledge is a mainstay in ESPN’s extensive championship coverage of the College Football Playoffs, the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships, and both the Women’s College World Series and the College World Series. She is also an ambassador for the Miracle League, an organization that builds baseball fields for children with disabilities.
Howard, a Heisman Trophy winner and Super Bowl XXXI MVP, joined ESPN after 11 seasons in the NFL as a college football analyst. Howard, a three-sport star from Cleveland, Ohio, received the role of wide receiver for the University of Michigan, where he won the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award, and All-American First Team Honors. He was selected in the 1992 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins as fourth overall and later played for the Green Bay Packers, where he became the only Super Bowl MVP to win the designation solely because of the performance of special teams. In 2011, Howard was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.
The Ice Hockey Athlete of the Year is announced by Martin St. Louis.
The graduated St. Louis Hockey Hall of Famer played in over 1,000 games and scored 1,000 points during its 16-year NHL career. St. Louis spent most of his career (13 seasons) with the Tampa Bay Lightning, leading the team to the 2004 Stanley Cup championship and retiring as the all-time top scorer. He is a two-time silver medalist at the World Championships and won gold at the 2014 Winter Games for Team Canada.
The Golf Player of the Year is announced by Ryan Palmer.
After graduating from Amarillo High School, Texan native Ryan Palmer played golf at Texas A&M University, where he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016. Four years after graduation, Palmer received his PGA Tour card and scored his first career PGA Tour win that same year at the FUNAI Classic 2004 at Walt Disney World Resort, where he defeated Vijay Singh. Since then, he has won four PGA Tour tournaments. Palmer founded the Ryan Palmer Foundation in 2004 with a mission to provide opportunity for children through access to education, self-care, and personal development.
Bowling is heralded by Chris Barnes, a Topeka, Kansas native who has won 19 PBA Tour titles in his bowling career. The player inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame in 2018 is one of only seven professional bowlers to receive the triple crown.
The Cincinnati High School Sports Awards are a multi-month recognition program for high school students and athletes. Due to COVID-19 safety precautions for students and guest speakers, the event has been converted to an on-demand broadcast show for 2021. The selection of the award winners for state-sanctioned sports, all of which appear on the show, will be announced on the event’s website throughout the year.
Thanks to local business sponsors, the show can be viewed for free on any smartphone or computer. Award winners should register on the show website to reserve their free athlete gift box. Registrations will also be used to send out prizes for the winners after the show.
Other athletes joining the program that were previously announced are:
- Three-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers
- The two-time soccer world champion Alex Morgan
- Katie Ledecky, five-time Olympic swimming champion
- Olympic and four-time world ski champion Lindsey Vonn
- 2020 NFL Comeback Player of the Year Alex Smith
- The three-time Olympic champion Kerri Walsh Jennings
- Baseball Hall of Famer Chipper Jones
- US women’s gymnastics gold and silver medalist Laurie Hernandez
- Three-time pro bowler and two-time first-team all-pro outside linebacker TJ Watt
- Most successful tennis player of the open era Martina Navratilova
- Olympic gold and silver medalist and world champion softball pitcher Jennie Finch
- Fourteen-time national champion Cheer Coach Monica Aldama
- Amanda Magadan. Midfielder of the US women’s national field hockey team
- Three-time MVP, world champion and co-founder of the Premier Lacrosse League Paul Rabil
The inaugural USA TODAY High School Sports Awards showcases the best high school athletes, coaches and teams in selected US nationally recognized sports. Nationwide Athlete of the Year will be among the national award winners.