5.1.20

Meet the 90th AAU James E. Sullivan Award Cowinners: Sabrina Ionescu and Spencer Lee

For the third time in AAU’s history, the James E. Sullivan Award was presented to two cowinners: Sabrina Ionescu and Spencer Lee. The virtual ceremony was hosted by Denny Lennon on his podcast Sports Stories on Wednesday, April 29.

Sabrina and Spencer are no strangers to winning awards as they’ve each racked up quite a list of accomplishments in their respective sports.

Sabrina made history playing college basketball for the University of Oregon when she surpassed 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, and 1,000 assists in her career. She is the first player in NCAA history (man or woman) to achieve this feat. She also holds the NCAA all-time triple-double record with a total of 26, is the Pac-12 all-time leader in assists, and, most recently, Sabrina was the first overall pick in the WNBA Draft, selected by New York. Going into the ceremony on Friday, Sabrina was a favorite to win, but even after her name was announced, she remained humble thanking and congratulating the other athletes.

“This is truly an honor. I’m blessed to be in this position and blessed to be among such great athletes and people as I try to follow in the footsteps of the past AAU James E. Sullivan Award winners,” Sabrina said on the livestream Friday night. “I just want to say thank you to the University of Oregon and anyone that’s been a part of my journey. And congrats to everyone else who was up for this award. It’s inspirational to be in a pool with these athletes.”

Spencer wrestles for the University of Iowa and is a two-time NCAA Wrestling Champion and winner of the Hodge Trophy. He had clinched first seed going into the 2019-2020 NCAA Championships (that have since been canceled due to the coronavirus), claimed the 2019 US Senior National Championship, and qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials. Obviously, under this year’s circumstances with COVID-19, Spencer was unable to compete in the NCAA Championships, but he’s already got his eyes on next year.

“I wanted to be a four-time national champ, but I guess I’ll be a three-timer since that’s the next best thing,” he said. “I did everything I could, but some circumstances are just out of your control. So, I’ll stay positive, rest up, train hard, and get ready to put it on the line again next year.”

As is the case every year, the competition for the James E. Sullivan Award was tight with many other fierce finalists including Evita Griskenas, Grant Holloway, Markus Howard, Trevor Lawrence, Dana Rettke, Kyla Ross, Megan Taylor and Abbey Weitzeil.

“We want to thank everyone for their participation and dedication to the presentation of this award,” said AAU President and CEO Dr. Roger J. Goudy. “We could not be more proud of both our recipients.

Spencer himself was speechless at his win, saying that when they announced there would be cowinners he was racking his brain on who would win alongside Sabrina.

“I was just shocked honestly. I’m honored to even be just a finalist for this award, and I’m even more humbled to have won it. I know I’m at the same level as the other contestants, but I just didn’t think it was my time yet, but now maybe I can try to win it again next year.”

No matter what happens next year, one thing’s certain: Sabrina and Spencer are destined for greatness, and we look forward to following their journey.

Meet the 90th AAU James E. Sullivan Award Cowinners: Sabrina Ionescu and Spencer Lee

For the third time in AAU’s history, the James E. Sullivan Award was presented to two cowinners: Sabrina Ionescu and Spencer Lee.

The 90th Annual AAU James E. Sullivan Award: Meet Your Finalists

Meet your top ten finalists for the 2020 AAU James E. Sullivan Award and cast your vote for who should win this prestigious award!

AAU Winner Featured Image

AAU Sullivan Awards: Plummer Takes Home the Hardware.

Stanford senior Kathryn Plummer took home the AAU Sullivan Award this year.

Choose the Next AAU Sullivan Award Winner

The final round of voting for the AAU Sullivan Award is now open!

Vote For The AAU Sullivan Award

The semi-final round of voting for the AAU Sullivan Award is open now.

Make Sports History: Nominate The Next AAU Sullivan Award Winner!

AAU provides athletes an opportunity to grow as a player and a person, and a...

The 2016 Hall of Fame Inductees

There are a few things that are undeniably true about the 2016 Naismith Basketball Hall...

See More