ABOVE: Five decades of Houston mayors: Mayor Sylvester Turner, Mayor Fred Hofheinz, Mayor Kathy Whitmire, Mrs. Elyse Lanier (wife of the late Mayor Bob Lanier), Mayor Lee P. Brown, Mayor Bill White and Mayor Annise Parker
Many of Houston’s top athletes, past and present, were joined by a slew of other attendees, elected officials, sponsors and community leaders to commemorate, celebrate and recognize Houston’s top sports achievements, performers and moments, at the second annual Houston Sports Awards that was held on February 6 at the Hilton Americas near downtown Houston.
This star studded, red-carpet dinner and awards show was televised live on ABC 13 and AT&T SportsNet Southwest, with a theme this year of “Celebrating a Lifetime of Houston Sports — One Decade at a Time,” and was kicked off with some great music by Dee Jay Silver, a fun video to prepare attendees for the event and a special rap performance in celebration of the occasion by nationally-recognized rap artist, Bun B.
This year’s Houston Sports Awards celebrated anniversaries from the last eight decades in Houston’s rich sports history, while also celebrating the greatest athletes’ moments and events of 2018.
Four individuals were inducted into the Houston Sports Hall of Fame for 2019 throughout the evening. Those inductees included: Professional golfer Jack Burke, Jr., who was celebrated for the 70th anniversary of his first professional PGA win in 1949; famous race car driver A.J. Foyt, who was recognized for the 60th anniversary of his Indianapolis 500 debut; world champion boxer George Foreman, for the 50th anniversary of him winning an Olympic gold medal in boxing; and former Houston Oilers quarterback Dan Pastorini for his leadership as part of the 40th anniversary of the Luv Ya Blue Oilers in 1979.
Several awards were given out throughout the rest of the night, such as the Athlete of the Year (gymnast Simone Biles); College Athlete of the Year (Houston Cougars quarterback D’Eriq King); High School Athlete of the Year (Kesean Carter); Coach of the Year (Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni); Moment of the Year (North Shore High School winning state title on last second Hail Mary pass); Fan of the Year (Joe Texan); and Event of the Year (NBA Western Conference Finals). There were three Legacy Awards given out as well – the Sportsmanship Award (J.J. Watt who gave the award to the students of Sante Fe High School), Executive of the Year (Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta) and Lifetime Achievement Award (President George H.W. Bush and Mrs. Barbara Bush).
The late President George H.W. Bush and his late wife Barbara were honored for the passion they displayed for Houston sports over a span of six decades, which included throwing out first pitches, sitting behind home plate at Houston Astros games, taking part in Super Bowl coin flips, being courtside at Houston Rockets games, being spectators at Houston’s major golf events and never being afraid to put on their boots for Rodeo Houston.
The Legacy winners were chosen by the Sports Awards Executive Committee, with input from the Selection Committee. The committees are comprised of sportswriters and electronic sports media members who live and work in the Greater Houston area.
All of the finalists for the awards can be found at www.houstonsportsawards.com/categories.