The Harris County Houston Sports Authority hosted the inaugural Houston Sports Awards at the Hilton Americas Hotel in downtown Houston on Thursday, February 8. After a banner year for Houston sports in 2017, the HSA created this program to honor the athletes, coaches, and broadcasters who provided fans with so many memorable moments and enrichment for the Houston community. The event also doubled as a fundraiser for the Star Of Hope, who strives to end homelessness, one life and family at a time.
The night was set up around honoring Houston's legendary No. 34s: Nolan Ryan, Hakeem Olajuwon and Earl Campbell. Each individual was inducted into the newly formed Houston Sports Hall Of Fame, and was honored with a video montage of their career accomplishments and congratulatory speeches from their respective colleagues in the sport.
Prior to the event, the nominees and athletes walked the Powerade "Blue Carpet" in front of media and fans. Several noteworthy Houston sports legends such as Jeff Bagwell, George Forman and Calvin Murphy waved to fans and provided interviews. The Papa John's Athlete of the Year award was later presented to Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve.
Other awards recipients include: Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow as Executive of the Year; Texans defensive end JJ Watt, honored with the Academy Sports + Outdoors Sportsmanship Award; former Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander, honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award.