NEW ORLEANS -- ESPN announced today that Saints hype man, sideline dancer and super fan Jarrius "Little JJ" Robertson will be honored with the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the 25th annual ESPY Awards July 12.
ESPN announced the honor for Robertson in a press release on the ESPN website.
ESPN said Robertson, who has undergone two liver transplants and 13 surgeries in 15 years, is a true example of perseverance. His health battles haven’t stopped him from being the Saints’ biggest cheerleader – he’s become a fixture at home and away games and has also joined the team for practices.
“When I first heard the news I thought I was dreaming!” said Robertson. “The ESPYS? For real? The past two years have been a blessing in so many ways for me and my family. I have been able to do things I never thought I would be able to do. But to be included with Craig Sager, Stuart Scott, Leah and Devon Still, Eric LeGrand and the man himself, Jimmy V, is truly amazing and I am really grateful and humbled.”
The Jimmy V Perseverance Award was 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.
“Jarrius is such an inspirational young man,” said New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. “His strength, determination and resolve along with his infectious energy and attitude should be an example that no matter the circumstances or adversity with a positive outlook and embracing the motto of ‘Don’t Give Up… Don’t Ever Give Up’ there isn’t a challenge that cannot be conquered.”
Added Saints Head Coach Sean Peyton: “As a coach, I am sure that Coach Valvano would love the energy and enthusiasm Jarrius brings to each day. He would be proud to know that his mission of never giving up has been embraced by a young man who represents all the qualities that he looked for in a person. Jarrius is a perfect torch bearer for the Jimmy V Perseverance Award as his story and mission of ‘It takes lives to Save lives’ resonates and touches everyone on so many different levels.”
In 2007, Women’s College basketball coach Kay Yow became the very first recipient of the Jimmy V Perseverance Award. Past recipients include Eric LeGrand, Anthony Robles, George Karl, Dick and Rick Hoyt, Stuart Scott, Devon and Leah Still, and Craig Sager.
Watch the video at the top of the page for more on Jarrius Robertson.