Paige Bueckers took home a number of awards during her first year in Storrs, and on Saturday night, the rising UConn sophomore added to her already jam packed trophy case by winning the ESPY Award for Best College Athlete in Women’s Sports.
Upon accepting her award, Bueckers thanked God and people like her friends, family, coaches, and teammates before turning her speech to the lack of attention given to Black women in sports.
“With the light that I have now as a white woman who leads a Black-led sport, and celebrated here, I want to show a light on Black women,” Bueckers said. “They don’t get the media coverage that they deserve. They’ve given so much to the sport, and the community, and society as a whole, and their value is undeniable.”
Bueckers went on to cite awards voting in the WNBA last year, where 80 percent of the winners were Black, and how despite that, they got half of the coverage as white athletes who took home awards. Because of this, she focused on the media and how it does a poor job putting Black women in the spotlight.
“Sports media holds the key to storylines,” Bueckers said to applause. “Sports media and sponsors tell us who is valuable, and you have told the world that I matter today. And everyone who voted, thank you. But I think we should use this power together to also celebrate Black women.”
Bueckers closed by addressing a number of Black women by name and emphasized her thanks for all they’ve done.
“To Maria Taylor, Robin Roberts, Maya Moore, Odicci Alexander, to all the incredible Black women in my life, on my teams, to Breonna Taylor and all the lives lost, and to those names who I’ve not yet learned but I hope to share, I stand behind you and I’ll continue to follow you, and follow your lead, and fight for you guys,” Bueckers said. “So I just want to say thank you for everything.”