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ESPN honors Madden shooting survivor for return to esports

oLARRY, of NBA 2K League’s Cavs Legion, was shot twice through his right hand

Timothy ‘oLARRY’ Anselimo, of Cavs Gaming, smiling during tournament play with a headset on
Timothy “oLARRY” Anselimo of Cavs Legion.
NBA 2K League via Timothy Anselimo/Twitter

A survivor of the mass shooting at a Madden NFL tournament last year in Jacksonville, Florida, will be presented with an ESPY award tonight.

Timothy “oLARRY” Anselimo, who also plays for Cavs Legion in the NBA 2K League, won Best Esports Moment via social media poll last night, for returning from his injuries to professional competition. Anselimo was shot four times in the Aug. 27, 2018, attack on a Madden League qualifying tournament at Jacksonville Landing. Two competitors that day died: Eli “TrueBoy” Clayton and Taylor “SpotMeplzzz” Robertson.

Anselimo’s right thumb was nearly severed by one gunshot. His former team, Bucks Gaming of Milwaukee, left him unprotected for the 2019 NBA 2K League expansion draft. One month after the shooting, Cavs Legion traded a player for the draft pick they used to take Anselimo.

As reported by ESPN back in May, Anselimo still has difficulty with his right hand; not only is his range of motion limited, but he deals with chronic pain and loss of feeling elsewhere in his hand. The tip of his right middle finger was also shot off. Anselimo told his mother that he would likely never play again.

With only 50 percent of his thumb’s motor skill available, Anselimo, who plays center in the NBA 2K League, has altered the way he holds the controller and uses his right index finger to compensate. Anselimo also confronts post-traumatic stress disorder, particularly as it involves going back into tournament environments like the one where he was shot.

The voting for Best Esports Moment began June 23, and came down to Anselimo and the Fortnite victory, by Ninja and Marshmello, at the Fortnite Pro-Am at E3 2018. Anselimo was the choice of 60 percent, with more than 230,000 votes cast.

Anselimo, of Brooklyn, is averaging 10 points and 6 rebounds, and has 12 blocks through 15 regular season games in the NBA 2K League this year. Cavs Legion is 8-7; its season wraps on Friday, July 19 against 8-5 76ers GC. The top seven teams from the regular season advance to the playoffs with wild card Warriors Gaming Squad. Cavs Legion is in 10th place and trails Celtics Crossover Gaming by two games in the loss column.

Created in 1993, ESPN’s ESPY Awards are are a midyear celebrity gala and awards show celebrating the previous year’s highlights and achievements in sports. It is best known for the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, which this year will go to basketball Hall-of-Famer Bill Russell. The show airs July 10 at 8 p.m. EDT on ESPN.