ESPY Awards 2012 Winners: Christian Watford Deservingly Wins Top Play

Ryan PhillipsContributor IIIJuly 12, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 11: Christian Watford wins award for Best Play  poses in the press room during the 2012 ESPY Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 11, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Indiana University forward Christian Watford won the ESPY for Play of the Year Wednesday night. While he was up against several worthy contenders, Watford's buzzer-beater to beat Kentucky deserved the award.

His three-pointer to top the rival and then No. 1 (and undefeated) Wildcats served notice that Indiana basketball was back. It set off the kind of raucous celebration and pure joy that is rarely seen in sports. 

At Assembly Hall on Indiana's campus, Watford took a pass from Verdell Jones III and nailed a deep shot from the wing as the clock expired in front of more than 17,000 fans on December 10, 2011.

It was the kind of play that people are still talking about months later. It was a cathartic moment for fans of a team that had been through so much over the past few years. 

The public vote helped him get past three other finalists. 

Watford's big shot is a moment Indiana fans will never forget, as it catapulted the team back into the national conversation. The Hoosiers reached the Sweet 16 and posted a 27-9 record after three years without reaching the postseason. 

While the other plays nominated were all fantastic, none were more meaningful. Plus, we're all suckers for a good buzzer beater and the visual of an entire student body pouring onto a floor after a win.

Watford's shot had it all and deservedly took home an ESPY Wednesday night.