Aston Villa midfielder Steven Davis is the first winner of the Belfast Telegraph's George Best Breakthrough Award.
The prize is presented to the Northern Ireland sport figure who has made the biggest advancement in their career over the past 12 months.
Ballymena-born Davis, 21, has become a key member for both Villa and the international team.
The award was presented to him by Best's son Calum.
Davis said: 'I am honoured to become the first winner of this award.
'George was a hero to everyone in Northern Ireland. To win an award set up in his honour is wonderful for me.
'My family are very proud. This means a lot to all of us.'
Leeds striker David Healy was named sports star of the year after scoring a dramatic winner against England in the World Cup qualifiers while Lawrie Sanchez took the manager's prize.