You walk into the Loews Hollywood Hotel, you look to your left and you see Lisa Leslie hanging out in the lobby. You look right and you see Landon Donovan chatting with some girls in the cafe, and then you walk by Alonzo Mourning on the way to the elevator. Where are you? The 2012 Gatorade National High School Athlete of the Year Awards.
The award show/dinner portion was held in the Grand Ballroom of the Loews Hotel, and the media interviews took place in the adjacent room.
After everyone sat down, Stuart Scott introduced the first Athlete of the Year, a dancer named tWitch. He did some intensely acrobatic break dancing to a thumping baseline, and I caught a portion of it on video.
I met tWitch, whose real name is Stephen Boss, at the dessert portion after the media sessions and he couldn’t have been a more humble gentleman.
A video introduction to the Girls’ Athlete of the Year Award Nominees followed and I thought that Gatorade’s attention to detail in the cutting and scoring of the video was very artfully done.
Stuart Scott made a few jokes about how Lisa Leslie shouldn’t be wearing heels around him, and then Brandi Chastain joined Lisa Leslie to introduce the 2012 Gatorade Girls’ Athlete of the Year.
This video of Breanna Stewart is a little blurry, but I find the audio intriguing on its own. You can tell that she is a smart, young, humble, and multi-talented woman, who is overwhelmed by all the cheers and support around her. Breanna not only plans to attend the University of Connecticut on a basketball scholarship as the #1 ranked female basketball player her age, but also held down a 4.08 GPA in high school. I was fortunate enough to interview her with a reporter from Bleacher Report, and you can find the transcript to that interview here.
The video introduction to the male nominees came next, and the winner was Johnathan Gray, the Aledo High School Running Back who broke the National High School Career rushing touchdowns record with 205 and led his team to three straight Texas High School 4A State Championships. That is no small feat. You can listen to the audio of my interview with Jonathan here.
Breanna Stewart and Johnathan Gray have bright futures ahead of them, and it was my honor to interview them as well as Jabari Parker (Gatorade Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year). I found myself thinking that I was glad to have these interviews to put into articles, but I was more excited to listen again to the words and advice of 16 and 17 year olds wise beyond their years. Congratulations to all the nominees; they truly represent the term student-athlete, and here’s wishing them the best of luck in all their pursuits academically, athletically, and in life.