Earlier this week, Chris Evert was celebrated with the Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award at the annual ESPYs. And what a deserving honoree she was.

An 18-time major singles champion, the International Tennis Hall of Famer has continued to lead the way well beyond her playing career. As someone who greatly benefited from access to courts, Evert has used her platform in advocating for increased opportunities and resources for future generations through her Evert Tennis Academy and role as chairperson with the USTA Foundation—which recently distributed $3 million in its latest set of grants to National Junior Tennis and Learning chapters across the U.S.

“I grew up in the public parks system. It provided an opportunity where I could set goals and I could play the sport that I loved. I believe that every child deserves at least this,” she says.


Evert has also maintained the tremendous resiliency that saw her reach the semifinals or better at 34 successive majors in an equally, if not more, powerful way. In May, the 67-year-old completed her sixth (and final) round of chemotherapy after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer, the same disease that tragically took the life of her younger sister Jeanne at the age of 62 in 2020.

Staying involved on the court with aspiring players was like “therapy and medicine”, said Evert. “My attitude became better, more positive. It gave me a bit more energy.”

NBA great Dikembe Mutombo and former NFL player Steve Gleason were also honored with the ENSPIRE Award.