CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Greater Cleveland Sports Awards not only celebrated excellence by athletes and teams in the city, it was a continuation of championship excellence that dominated the headlines in 2016.
And the Cleveland Cavaliers, just as they did for winning the 2016 NBA Finals, collected even more hardware on Thursday night at the Renaissance Hotel downtown.
The Cavaliers won the award for Best Moment in Cleveland Sports and LeBron James won Professional Athlete of the Year.
Cavaliers general manager David Griffin said the organization was happy to bring joy to the city.
“Being a part of the [championship] momentum in the city was awesome,” Griffin said. “What the Indians did was so special and getting up close and personal for that ride at the same time was really something.”
James was not in attendance to receive his award. Former Cavaliers forward Campy Russell accepted on James’ behalf.
“This award means a lot, not only to LeBron James but to the Cavaliers and everyone in Northeast Ohio,” Russell said. “For all that LeBron has done it’s fitting.”
ESPN’s Jay Crawford was the emcee. Crawford, a native of Sandusky and avid Cleveland sports fan, revelled in the celebration of the event.
Other award winners included:
High School Athlete of the Year
Jaylen Harris, football, Cleveland Heights High School: Harris is a wide receiver who caught 53 passes for 820 yards this past season. He was All-Ohio. Harris will attend Ohio State University in the fall.
Collegiate Athlete of the Year
John Carroll University football team: The Blue Streaks had plenty of highlights this past season. John Carroll ended Mount Union’s 112-game winning streak and advanced to the Division III semifinals.
Amateur Athlete of the Year
Charles Conwell Jr., boxing: Conwell, a graduate of Cleveland Heights, was a member of the 2016 Olympic team. He’s an 11-time national champion, a two-time USA Boxing national champion and a national Golden Glove champ.
Other winners were Mike Hargrove (Lifetime Achievement Award), Kendra Seitz (Courage Award) and the Mid-American Conference (Gold Medalist Award).
The event included former Indians Jim Thome, Sandy Alomar and Chad Ogea and several players from the current team, former Cavs guard Austin Carr, and Cleveland Browns wide receiver Terrelle Pryor, among others.