Tonight, Caitlyn Jenner is going to make history as she accepts the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs. And although there’s controversy around Jenner allegedly not having invited her three ex-wives to the event, one person who does have her back is NBA legend Kobe Bryant.
As most fans know, there’s been controversy for months over Jenner receiving the award, with many saying that she doesn’t deserve it just for transitioning to a woman or others just outright saying a transgender woman shouldn’t be honored.
Even NBC Sports’ Bob Costas spoke out against the selection.
“I wish Caitlyn all of the happiness in the world and all of the peace of mind in the world,” Costas said on the Dan Patrick radio show. “However, it strikes me that awarding the Arthur Ashe Award to Caitlyn Jenner is just a crass exploitation play. This is not anything against Caitlyn Jenner, I’m pretty sure they could have found someone who was much closer to actively involved in sports who would have been deserving of what that award represents.”
However, Lakers star Kobe Bryant recently spoke to TMZ about Jenner and defended her right to receive the award.
“I think people have to be comfortable being themselves,” Bryant sayid. “Doesn’t matter what walk of life you’re in, man, you gotta be comfortable being you.”
And it’s not only Bryant who defended her. ESPN also defended her selection as well.
“(Her selection) may not only give comfort to those facing similar circumstances, but also can help to educate people on the challenges that the transgender community faces,” ESPN said in a statement.
“It is very rare you get to tell a story that hopefully affects people and moves people and has meaning and makes a difference,” executive producer Maura Mandt said. “At the same time if it attracts people from seeing it? We are not going to run away from that. Every person who has a cause needs a platform.”
Clearly all of this talk about Jenner proves that her story, whether you like it or not, is compelling and thought-provoking. It takes guts to live your authentic self, especially when society has barely made a space for your identity and gender expression. If that’s not a true example of courage, we don’t know what is.