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Zaevion Dobson to be honored with Arthur Ashe Courage Award at 2016 ESPYS

(Courtesy of ESPN)

Zaevion Dobson was only 15 years old when he gave his life to protect girls from a shooting in Knoxville, Tennessee. Now, the former football star and beloved class icon will be honored at the 2016 ESPYS with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.

"The family of Zaevion William Dobson accepts with great appreciation the honorable Arthur Ashe Award on behalf of our beloved young man of valor, who sacrificed himself to save others," Zenobia Dobson said on behalf of the Dobson family. "Arthur Ashe was a leading example of strength and courage for us as a family, and we feel truly blessed and honored that our Zaevion joins the ranks of honorees. Like Arthur Ashe, Zaevion faced obstacles, but he overcame them. With this award, we know that Zaevion's name and example will never be forgotten."

The Arthur Ashe Courage Award is given to an individual each year to someone whose contributions extend beyond the world of sports. Past recipients include Jim Valvano, Billie Jean King and Nelson Mandela among others. Now, the award will be able honor Zaevion's legacy of selflessness and bravery.

"Zaevion's actions to risk his own life for others demonstrate the true meaning of the word courage, and his boundless bravery has inspired many. We are proud to honor him with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at this year's ESPYS. By celebrating Zaevion's legacy, we hope to bring more attention to this serious issue and continued focus on the tragic loss of lives to gun violence."

Watch the 2016 ESPY Awards hosted by John Cena on Wednesday, July 13 at 8 p.m. ET | 7 p.m. CT on ABC.

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