Tennis great Serena Williams will receive the Jackie Robinson Sports Award on Saturday during the 54th annual NAACP Image Awards, which are airing live on BET and simulcast across other Paramount Global networks including CBS, Comedy Central, MTV and VH1.
The Robinson honor is presented to individuals in sports for their high achievement in athletics in addition to their contributions in the pursuit of social justice, civil rights and community involvement, awards organizers said Thursday.
Previous winners include Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Wilma Rudolph and the Harlem Globetrotters.
“Serena Williams is the quintessential example of Black excellence,” NAACP president and CEO Derrick Johnson said. “From her record-breaking wins on the tennis court to her business acumen to her philanthropic endeavors, she has set the bar for athletes everywhere. We are proud to honor and celebrate her with this year’s Jackie Robinson Sports Award.”
Williams won 23 Grand Slams in a remarkable career the wrapped in September when she played at the U.S. Open. She was an executive producers with her sister Venus on King Richard, the story of their journey to the top echelons of tennis that was fueled by their father and mother while growing up in Compton, CA. The pic was nominated for six Oscars including Best Picture, and won Will Smith the Best Actor prize.
She is involved in several ventures outside tennis including in fashion, venture capital and as an author.
Serena and Venus were given the Image Awards’ Presidents Award in 2003.
The Image Awards have been handing out winners in non-televised categories all week ahead of Saturday’s ceremony. See the winners list so far here.
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