The Kansas City Sports Commision Announces the 2023 Honorees for the 50th Annual Kansas City Sports Awards

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Each year, the Kansas City Sports Commission and Foundation honors outstanding individuals for their commitment to, and achievement in, sports. The benefits of sport are long-standing and this awards banquet celebrates all the positive aspects of sports.

“As Kansas City continues to generate unprecedented excitement for its national and international sporting events, these honorees represent the best of our local sporting community. Together, these individuals and their organizations play a critical role driving fan engagement, awareness and opportunity for Kansas City.”

Kathy Nelson, President and CEO of the Kansas City Sports Commission

McCownGordon Construction Executive of the Year
Brett Veach, General Manager of the Kansas City Chiefs

Brett Veach is entering his seventh season as the Kansas City Chiefs General Manager. During his tenure in that role, the club has won the AFC West every year, hosted five-straight AFC Championship Games and won Super Bowl LIV and Super Bowl LVII. 

Spire Community Champion
Grant Wahl, Internationally Acclaimed Sports Journalist
In Memoriam 

Grant Wahl grew up in Mission, Kansas and  became an internationally acclaimed sports journalist. Wahl was a highly respected and admired figure in the global soccer community, known for his passion and advocacy for the sport. Wahl spent 24 years at Sports Illustrated and created his own Substack, Fútbol with Grant Wahl. 

Burns & McDonnell Coach of the Year
Jerome Tang
, Men’s Basketball Coach of the Kansas State Wildcats

Kansas State Wildcats Men’s Basketball Coach, Jerome Tang, led his team to a 26-win season and its 13th trip to the Elite Eight in his inaugural season. Tang is the first K-State head coach to earn the Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year honor. 

Polsinelli Sportsman of the Year 
Chris Jones, Defensive Tackle for the Kansas City Chiefs

Two-time Super Bowl Champion, Chris Jones will enter into his eighth NFL season with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2023. Jones has had four consecutive Pro Bowl campaigns. The defensive tackle was also selected to the NFL Player Association’s inaugural Player’s All-Pro Team following the 2022 season.

Children’s Mercy Kansas City Sportswoman of the Year 
Lo’eau LaBonta, Midfielder for the Kansas City Current

Lo’eau LaBonta was one of the team leaders during Kansas City Current’s 2022 run to their first-ever NWSL championship match. The star midfielder holds club records in goals (8) and penalties (6). LaBonta was also named to the 2022 NWSL Best XI First Team. 

T-Mobile Legacy Award
Ron Labinski
, Sports Architecture Visionary
In Memoriam

Often credited as the world’s first sports venue architect, Ron Labinski left a legacy as a sports architecture visionary. Labinski began his career as a project architect on Arrowhead Stadium. Later, he founded the organization now known as Populous, the world’s first architecture firm focused solely on sport venue design. 

The Kansas City Sports Awards—presented by POPULOUS—will be held June 8, 2023, at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown.

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