The 2012 ESPYS were a great mix of humor, fashion and sentimentality. It made the biggest sports award show a smashing success and an entertaining event.
Veteran comedian Rob Riggle took the stage of Los Angeles' Nokia Theater as the host for the night, and he got off to an ominous start as he verbally stumbled early in his opening monologue. But he quickly fell into his rhythm. Riggle's zany humor was edgy but not mean-spirited enough to turn anyone off.
The ESPYS also kept it rocking from award to award by having the MC skills of Nas on hand. In the end, this show isn't about the host or the MC, though—it's about the athletes.
Here are some of the highlights and winners from the 2012 ESPYS.
Reaching the Summitt
The 2012 ESPYS took a touching turn when they honored former Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt.
Summitt was diagnosed with dementia last summer, yet she still coached this season. She has since retired, and she did so as the winningest coach in the history of college basketball.
ESPN's Cindy Brunson captured the touching moment with this tweet:
In a completely different style of awesome, Giants closer Brian Wilson got the awards show off to an entertaining start by showing up on the red carpet with his date, Brosquatch.
It is always a safe bet that Wilson will do something noteworthy when in the public spotlight.
Honoring an Inspiration
We pretty much all know of Eric LeGrand's paralyzing tragedy on the football field with Rutgers in 2010. He is currently unable to walk, but he is working hard to regain that mobility.
Through it all, he has been a shining inspiration to countless people and was recognized as such with the Jimmy V Courage award.
LeGrand was on hand to accept the honor and delivered a very moving speech.
Breakthrough Athlete of the Year: Jeremy Lin
Record-Breaking Performance of the Year: Drew Brees, for breaking Dan Marino's NFL regular-season passing yards record
Biggest Upset: L.A. Kings
Game of the Year: NFC divisional playoff—San Francisco 49ers 36, New Orleans Saints 32
Best Moment: Tim Tebow's 80-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas to beat the Steelers in the NFL playoffs
Best Coach/Manager of the Year: Tom Coughlin
Best International Athlete: Lionel Messi
Best Comeback: Matthew Stafford
Arthur Ashe Courage Award: Pat Summitt
Jimmy V Perseverance Award: Eric LeGrand
Best Team: Miami Heat
Best Male Athlete of the Year: LeBron James
Best Female Athlete of the Year: Brittney Griner
Best Female College Athlete: Brittney Griner
Best Female Tennis Player: Maria Sharapova
Best Male Tennis Player: Novak Djokovic
Best MLB Player: Josh Hamilton
Best NHL Player: Jonathan Quick
Best Male College Athlete: Robert Griffin III
Best NBA Player: LeBron James
Best NFL Player: Aaron Rodgers
Best Male Action Sports Athlete: Shaun White
Best Female Action Sports Athlete: Jamie Anderson
Best Play: Christian Watford
Best Fighter: Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Best Championship Player: LeBron James
Best Jockey: Mario Gutierrez.
Best Male Athlete with a Disability: Kyle Maynard
Best Female Athlete with a Disability: Jessica Long
Best Bowler: Sean Rash
Best MLS Player: David Beckham
Best Track and Field Athlete: Walter Dix
Best WNBA Player of the Year: Diana Taurasi
Best Male Golfer: Bubba Watson
Best Driver: Tony Stewart
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