Photos: Drew Brees through the years in New Orleans

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) and Steve Gleason lead the Who Dat chant before the game between the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints at the Superdome on Sunday, December 24, 2017.?

Former New Orleans Saints standout Steve Gleason will headline a host of current and former Louisiana and LSU athletes at the 2024 ESPY Awards ceremony Thursday night in Los Angeles.

Gleason will receive the prestigious Arthur Ashe Award for Courage during the two-hour ceremony, which will begin at 7 p.m. and be broadcast on ABC.

Several athletes with Louisiana connections are expected to attend the star-studded event as nominees or presenters. Among them:

? Former Saints quarterback Drew Brees, former Saints running back Mark Ingram and LSU women's basketball star Flau’jae Johnson are scheduled to present awards.

? New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson is a nominee for Best Comeback Athlete.

? LSU gymnast Haleigh Bryant and former LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels are nominees for the Best Female and Male College Athletes, respectively. Bryant is also a nominee for Best Breakthrough Athlete.

? New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollum and members of the LSU gymnastics team, including Olivia Dunne, are scheduled to attend the event, as is former Alabama and LSU football coach Nick Saban.

The Arthur Ashe award is given to individuals "whose contributions transcend sports." Recipients reflect the spirit of Arthur Ashe and possess strength, courage and willingness to stand up for their beliefs in the face of adversity. Past winners include Muhammad Ali, Billie Jean King, Pat Tillman, Bill Russell and Jim Valvano, who famously delivered the “Never give up. Don’t ever give up” speech as the inaugural recipient at the inaugural 1993 ESPYs.

The cast of nominees for awards also include Simone Biles, Jaylen Brown, Caitlin Clark, Coco Gauff, Patrick Mahomes, Shohei Ohtani and Max Verstappen.

In addition to Gleason, the night's special award recipients include Prince Harry, who will receive?the Pat Tillman Award for Service in recognition of his work with the Invictus Games, and South Carolina women's basketball coach Dawn Staley, who will receive the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance.

"These honorees have used their platforms to change the world and make it more inclusive for marginalized and suffering communities, demonstrating incredible resilience, positivity and perseverance, and we're thrilled to celebrate them at the 2024 ESPYS," Kate Jackson, vice president of production at ESPN, said in a statement.

Former tennis star Serena Williams, who was married in New Orleans, will host the awards ceremony.

Email Jeff Duncan at jduncan@theadvocate.com.