The winners of the 2012 ESPY Awards were well-deserved for the most part.
The greatest male athlete alive, LeBron James, did the heavy lifting and took home three ESPYs, including the awards for Best Male Athlete, Best Championship Performance and Best NBA Player.
The eighth seeded Los Angeles Kings took home best upset for their epic playoff run that culminated in a Stanley Cup Finals victory over the New Jersey Devils, and Christian Watford took home the award for Best Play with his buzzer beating three pointer that had the Hoosiers knocking off the undefeated No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats.
Looking back on the awards suggests that there were still some deserving winners that left empty handed.
Here are three winners that should not have taken home the hardware at the 2012 ESPY Awards.
Best Breakthrough Athlete: Jeremy Lin
Linsanity dominated Manhattan when Lin's game took off.
His career year of 14.6 PPG and 6.2 APG was impressive, especially considering that he was picked up off of waivers.
Still, the numbers don't lie.
Lin played in only 35 games, couldn't handle the pressure of playing against the big boys, and sat out with injury while the Knicks were embarrassed by the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs.
On the other hand, Gronkowski was a total beast from opening day until the final moments of the Pats' Super Bowl loss to the New York Giants.
Last season Gronkowski set the tight end record for single season touchdowns with 17, and most reception yards for a tight end in a single season with 1,327.
Even more impressive, Gronk shared the field with fellow New England tight end Aaron Hernandez.
Lin was an upset. The award belonged to Gronkowski.
The 49ers incredible NFC Divisional playoff win over the Saints was nail-biting down to the last seconds.
Brees threw for 461 yards and four scores, while Smith tossed for 299 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winning pass to tight end Vernon Davis.
Thirty-four combined fourth quarter points and some late game heroics had San Francisco escape with an exhilarating 36-32 victory.
While all of this was exciting, it was only the divisional round of the NFC playoffs.
While the drama and pressure might have been high for a divisional round playoff game, the win would have been much more thrilling had it happened a round later.
St. Louis promptly rode the momentum of Game 6 to a 6-2 Game 7 victory over Josh Hamilton and the Rangers.
The Cardinals were robbed last night. Freese's World Series heroics should have given him and St. Louis the ESPY for best game.
Best Team: Miami Heat
How the Heat won the ESPY for best team is still a head scratcher.
When Chris Bosh went down with an abdomen injury in the second round of the playoffs, the Heat relied on James and Wade to put up big numbers.
The duo's most impressive game came when they combined for 70 points, as the Heat won Game 4 in Indiana to knot the series up at two games apiece.
Down 3-2 and facing elimination in a Game 6 road game at the Boston Garden, LeBron James went off. Going 19-26 from the field, James put up a masterful performance with 45 points, 15 rebounds and five assists in a resounding 98-79 victory.
Up to that point, the playoffs belonged to LeBron James with help from Dwyane Wade.
Nevertheless, this was not the best team in sports. It wasn't even the best team in the NBA.
The Los Angeles Kings should have won this award.
The Kings used a team effort throughout the playoffs to bring the Stanley Cup to Los Angeles.
They looked like a team on and off the ice.
Miami have all the sex appeal to make them the most provocative and most scrutinized team in sports. Voters may have been compelled to vote for them once LBJ finally won a title.
Yet when it all boils down, the Heat stole an award that didn't belong to them.
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