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ESPY 2012 Results: Most Outrageous Winners from Annual Award Show

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 11:  Professional skiier Lindsay Vonn (L) and NFL player Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins speak onstage during the 2012 ESPY Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 11, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistJuly 12, 2012

LeBron James and Brittany Griner's award-winning nights were anticipated, but a handful of winners prompted at-home viewers to scratch their heads.

Three of these award winners stick out in my mind. Every nomination was right, but the winner was wrong in these cases.

Let's take a look at which three awards landed in the wrong hands Wednesday night.

 

Best Upset

Winner: LA Kings

Should Have Been: Norfolk State over Missouri

There's no knocking what the Kings did to get the to Stanley Cup Finals. They went on a blazing run through the playoffs and rode the strength of their goaltending to a Stanley Cup trophy.

The NHL Playoffs are a long and rigorous occasion. The Kings' run as a No. 8 seed was unprecedented, but No. 8 seeds have won series before.

Norfolk State's run had a better mystique.

At least people know who the LA Kings are. What college basketball fan really knew the Norfolk State Spartans before their magical first-round upset over No. 2 seed Missouri? I'm going to say virtually no one.

The Spartans literally came from nowhere to catch lightning in a bottle for one game. To me that's more special than the Kings' longstanding run.

 

Best Male College Athlete

Winner: Robert Griffin III

Should Have Been: Anthony Davis

Griffin III's Heisman-winning 2011 season was one of the most breathtaking displays you'll ever see. He shimmied his way to 600-plus rushing yards and nine touchdowns as a quarterback, and he didn't let us forget that he can throw the ball.

Griffin III launched the ball for 3,998 yards and 36 touchdowns. He led the Baylor Bears to their highest win total in 25 years, but he finished the year with an Alamo Bowl win over Washington. He didn't win a BCS National Championship and quarterbacks are judged by wins.

I know it's hard to justify the rest of Baylor's team on a championship level, but it separates Anthony Davis from Griffin III.

Davis was the backbone of his championship-winning team as a 19-year-old freshman. He changed the notion attached to blue-chip prospects with his hard work and stellar defensive presence.

Not only did Davis win the top individual awards in his sport this season, but he was a part of the ultimate team achievement as well.

That should have earned him this award Wednesday night.

 

Best MLB Player

Winner: Josh Hamilton

Should Have Been: Anyone Else (Ryan Braun, Matt Kemp, Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw)

I thought these awards were judged by the last year in sports, but then they announced this award winner. It's nothing against Hamilton, but did he win an MVP award last year? Because I see four other people who took home individual accolades last season.

Kershaw won the NL Cy Young award. Braun (arguments aside) won the NL MVP with Kemp coming in a very close second. Verlander won the AL Cy Young and AL MVP.

All of those achievements trump Hamilton's great season. If baseball didn't recognize him, why would this award?

Hamilton's an excellent player. He's one of the few true five-tool players in the game today, but he didn't deserve this award. He's off to an incredible start this season, and his team could be well on its way to a third-straight World Series appearance.

If I had to pick one guy it would be Verlander. His 24 wins and dual recognition in the awards department were well deserved. He put together one of the most dominant seasons we will ever see, in any sport.

The ESPYs were a great show overall, but missed the mark on these three honors.

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