Past Winners

Sabrina Ionescu and Spencer Lee, 90th Annual AAU Sullivan Award Winners

Sabrina Ionescu and Spencer Lee, 90th Annual AAU Sullivan Award Winners

Sport: Basketball & Wrestling

Hometown: Walnut, CA & Denver, CO

Biography: Ionescu became the seventh basketball player to take home this award, while Lee became the fifth wrestler to be named the top athlete.

Sabrina Ionescu is the first player in NCAA history to surpass 2,000 career points, 1,000 career rebounds, and 1,000 career assists. She holds the NCAA all-time triple-double record with 26. Ionescu is the only the second player in NCAA history to reach 2,000 career points and 1,000 career assists. She is the Pac-12 all-time leader in assists. Ionescu showed incredible strength on Feb. 24, 2020, speaking in front of 20,000 people and a national television audience at the memorial service for Kobe and Gianna Bryant. She is a two-time Wooden Award and Wade Trophy recipient as the national player of the year. Her other accolades this year are the Nancy Lieberman Award, Honda Sport Award, Pac-12 Player of the Year, WBCA First Team All-American, ESPNW First Team All-American, USBWA First Team All-American, Dawn Staley Award finalist and winner of the 2020 Senior C.L.A.S.S. Award for women’s basketball. On April 17, 2020, Ionescu was selected by the New York Liberty with the first overall pick of WNBA Draft 2020 presented by State Farm.

Two-time NCAA Wrestling Champion and Hodge Trophy recipient, Spencer Lee claimed the 2019 U.S. Senior National Championship, qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Trials. He clenched the No. 1 seed going into the 2019-20 NCAA Championships and earned All-American honors for 2018, 2019, and 2020. For 2019, Lee outscored his opponents 55-7 in five matches at NCAA Championships and posted a 23-3 overall record, including a perfect 7-0 mark in Big Ten duals. Lee recorded a team-high seven technical falls and eight pins, ranking second on the team. He became an Academic All-Big Ten selection and named the Mike Howard Most Valuable Wrestler at the annual team banquet. Lee was also nominated to the NWCA Academic All-American Team and is a two-time letter winner.

The pair are the third duo to win, following the footsteps of the 86th recipients, former Navy quarterback, Keenan Reynolds and former University of Connecticut forward, Breanna Stewart in 2015, and the basketball twins Kelly and Coco Miller in 1999. Other 90th AAU James E. Sullivan Award finalists included Evita Griskenas (rhythmic gymnastics), Grant Holloway (track and field), Markus Howard (men’s basketball), Trevor Lawrence (football), Dana Rettke (women’s volleyball), Kyla Ross (gymnastics), Megan Taylor (women’s lacrosse) and Abbey Weitzeil (women’s swimming).


Share this post

Follow us

Be sure to tag your posts with hashtag #AAUSullivanAward
Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter (@TheRealAAU)
Show us some love on Instagram (@AAUSports)
Check out our videos on YouTube

Get in touch

The Award

Known as the "Oscar" of sports awards and older than The Heisman, the AAU Sullivan Award honors the outstanding amateur athlete in the United States. It has been presented annually by the AAU since 1930 as a salute to founder and past president of the Amateur Athletic Union, and pioneer in amateur sports, James E. Sullivan. Based on the qualities of leadership, character, sportsmanship, and the ideals of amateurism, the AAU Sullivan Award goes far beyond athletic accomplishments and honors those who have shown strong moral character.


The AAU was founded in 1888 to establish standards and uniformity in amateur sports. During its early years, the AAU served as a leader in international sport representing the U.S. in the international sports federations. The AAU worked closely with the Olympic movement to prepare athletes for the Olympic games. After the Amateur Sports Act of 1978, the AAU has focused its efforts into providing sports programs for all participants of all ages beginning at the grass roots level. The philosophy of "Sports for All, Forever," is shared by over 700,000 participants and over 150,000 volunteers.
View Our Mission Statement