It’s mid-July, so that must mean it’s time for Gatorade’s Athlete of the Year Program to take center stage. Each year, Gatorade honors the nation’s top high-school scholar-athletes and it’s an event I’ve had the pleasure of covering for The Hoop Doctors for many years now.
Celebrating its 30th year (established in 1985), the Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field. One National Player of the Year is awarded in each sport. In addition to athletic excellence, the award recognizes academic achievement and exemplary character on and off the field. It’s truly a tremendous, one-of-a-kind program.
The annual award presentation goes down in Los Angeles and there’s always a host of professional athletes one hand. The #1 overall pick Karl-Anthony Towns happened to be in the building and we were able to catch up with him talk Gatorade, pressures that come with being selected first, the story behind his hyphenated first name and whether or not Kevin Garnett scares him.