NBA Champion and MVP Kevin Garnett joins celebrity athletes, including Alex Morgan and Aaron Rodgers, announcing the winners of the Bryan County High School Sports Awards. (Photo: USA TODAY Network)
NBA Champion, MVP and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2020 inductee Kevin Garnett will announce the basketball winners at the Bryan County High School Sports Awards, presented by Choctaw Casino. Garnett joins a list of newly released top athletes and celebrities that will be a part of the show.
The Bryan County High School Sports Awards is part of the largest high school sports recognition program in the country. Top athletes in most state-sanctioned sports will be honored during an on-demand broadcast at 7 p.m. Central June 28 on the event website.
The Minnesota Timberwolves selected Kevin Garnett with their fifth overall pick in the 1995 NBA draft, becoming the first NBA player drafted directly out of high school in 20 years. Known for his intensity, defensive ability and versatility, Garnett is considered one of the greatest power forwards of all time. He is one of four NBA players to win both the Most Valuable Player and the Defensive Player of the Year awards. Garnett was named to 15 All-Star Games, winning the All-Star MVP award in 2003, and is currently tied for third-most All-Star selections in NBA history.
The show will be hosted by Laura Rutledge and Desmond Howard.
Florida native and 2012 Miss Florida, Rutledge now draws viewers as the host of ESPN's NFL Live and SEC Network's 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 surrounding the College Football Playoff, NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships, and both the Women's College World Series and College World Series. She is also an Ambassador for the Miracle League, an organization that builds baseball fields for children with disabilities.
A Heisman Trophy winner and Super Bowl XXXI MVP, Howard joined ESPN as a college football analyst after 11 seasons in the NFL. A three-sport star out of Cleveland, Ohio, Howard earned the role of wide receiver for the University of Michigan, where he won the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, the Walter Camp Award and first team All-American Honors. He was selected fourth overall in the 1992 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins and later played for the Green Bay Packers, where he became the only Super Bowl MVP to ever win the designation solely on special teams performance. In 2011, Howard was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.
The hockey Athletes of the Year will be announced by Martin St. Louis.
Undrafted out of college, Hockey Hall of Famer St. Louis played in over 1,000 games and scored 1,000 points during his 16-year NHL career. St. Louis spent the majority of his career (13 seasons) with the Tampa Bay Lightning, leading the team to the 2004 Stanley Cup Championship and retiring as the franchises’ all-time leading goal 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 athletes of the year will be announced by Ryan Palmer.
After graduating from Amarillo High School, Texas native Ryan Palmer went on to play golf at Texas A&M University, where he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016. Four years after graduation, Palmer earned his PGA Tour card and scored his first career PGA Tour win the same year at the 2004 FUNAI Classic at the Walt Disney World Resort, where he defeated Vijay Singh. Since then, he has won four PGA Tour tournaments. Palmer created the Ryan Palmer Foundation in 2004 with a mission to create opportunities for kids through access to education, self-care and personal development.
Bowling will be announced by Chris Barnes, a Topeka, Kansas, native who claims 19 PBA Tour titles in his bowling career. The 2018 PBA Hall of Fame inductee is one of only seven professional bowlers to claim the triple crown.
The Bryan County High School Sports Awards is a multi-month student-athlete recognition program. Due to COVID-19 safety precautions for students and guest speakers, the event was converted to an on-demand broadcast show for 2021. Honoree selections for state sanctioned sports, who are all featured in the show, are announced throughout the year on the event website.
The show will be free to watch on any smartphone or computer thanks to local business sponsors. Honorees should register on the show website to reserve their complimentary athlete gift box. Registrations are also used to send out awards for winners following the show.
Other athletes joining the program that have been previously announced include:
- Three-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers
- Two-time FIFA World Cup soccer champion Alex Morgan
- Five-time swimming Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky
- Olympic gold medalist and four-time World Cup skiing champion Lindsey Vonn
- 2020 NFL Comeback Player of the Year Alex Smith
- Three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings
- Baseball Hall of Famer Chipper Jones
- U.S. Women's Gymnastics gold and silver medalist Laurie Hernandez
- Three-time Pro Bowler and two-time First-Team All-Pro outside linebacker T.J. Watt
- Most successful female 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
- U.S. Women’s National Field Hockey Team midfielder Amanda Magadan
- Three-time MVP, World Champion and co-founder of the Premier Lacrosse league Paul Rabil
Top high school athletes, coaches and teams from select state-sanctioned sports across the U.S. will be featured in the inaugural USA TODAY High School Sports Awards. Statewide Athlete of the Year winners will be among the national honorees.
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