ESPY Play of the Year 2013: Breaking Down the Nominees
There are a number of categories up for grabs at the 2013 ESPYs, but Best Play recognizes that single moment of the year that will live on forever.
A few seconds of game action in each circumstance were discussed for days, weeks and sometimes months on social media and around the country.
This winner will be decided by the fans, but this category has the unique circumstance of taking down fellow nominees in a bracket format. Starting with 16 choices, fans have brought the number down to four, knocking out some worthy entries.
That means that the finalists are really something special. Here is a look at the four remaining nominees for the Best Play ESPY. The 2013 ESPYs will be hosted by Mad Men's Jon Hamm and will air Wednesday, July 17, at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Jadeveon Clowney Crushes Michigan
Jadeveon Clowney might already be the most dominant defensive college football player in history, and this play shows why.
In the fourth quarter of the Outback Bowl, Michigan held a one-point lead over South Carolina with the ball. The Wolverines decided to go for it on fourth down and came up short, although a poor call gave them the first down.
As a result, Clowney took matters into his own hands. He exploded off the line and into the backfield before making a bone-crushing hit on Vincent Smith. The running back fumbled the ball, and the defensive end was able to get the recovery.
South Carolina used this momentum to score a touchdown on the next play and eventually won the game.
On its own, this is one of the more impressive defensive plays you will see on a football field. Clowney showed that he is a man among boys, and NFL teams simply cannot wait to get him onto the field. However, the circumstances surrounding the play help make it one of the best you will ever see in the sport.
It is not surprising that this play was the "Best of the Best" on SportsCenter for 45-straight votes before seven-year-old Jack Hoffman took over.
Khalil Edney Makes Improbable Shot
It takes a lot for a high school state championship to turn heads nationwide, but the New York Section 1 Class AA final had one of the most improbable endings ever seen on a basketball court.
With 2.9 seconds remaining in the game, New Rochelle trailed Mount Vernon by two points. New Rochelle had a chance to tie or win the game, but the inbound pass went right to the defender, who immediately threw the ball in the air.
At that point, even the announcer stated that Mount Vernon was going to "hold on and win it."
However, inbounder Khalil Edney caught the ball in the air and released a 55-foot buzzer-beater shot that miraculously went in. After the refs decided he got the shot off in time (at 0.01 seconds), New Rochelle was declared state champion.
Almost 20 years after UCLA's Tyus Edney made one of the bigger plays in NCAA history, another player named Edney shows that you never give up until the final whistle.
DeAndre Jordan Throws Down Monster Dunk
The Los Angeles Clippers, who already had a reputation for being known as "Lob City," took on the Detroit Pistons on March 10. For Brandon Knight, this is a day that will live in infamy.
Chris Paul took the ball to the right side of the lane before lobbing it up for an alley-oop for teammate DeAndre Jordan. However, there were two problems: The ball was too far from the rim, and Knight was in the way.
Apparently, neither of those mattered to Jordan, and even LeBron James—who knows a thing or two about big dunks—was impressed. Via his Twitter page, James expressed his reaction to the play:
DeAndre Jordan!!!! Dayyyuummmm!! Dunk of the year #littletikeshoop— LeBron James (@KingJames) March 11, 2013
Of course, you also have to give credit to Knight for poking fun at himself after the game. He tweeted:
It wasn't in the scouting reports that the clippers threw lobs lol— Brandon E Knight (@BrandonKnight07) March 11, 2013
Still, this play was clearly the best of the NBA regular season and earns a spot in the finals for the Best Play ESPY.
Ray Allen Saves the Day
The San Antonio Spurs were less than 10 seconds away from winning the 2013 NBA championship. As we now know, they were ultimately denied thanks to one incredible shot by Ray Allen.
Down by three points in Game 6, the Miami Heat were running out of chances to tie the game. LeBron James tried a deep look, but his shot bounced off the rim. Fortunately, the team then got the ball to the best three-point shooter in NBA history.
Allen got the ball in the corner and drained a shot from beyond the arc to tie the game with only 5.2 seconds remaining on the clock, sending it to overtime.
Miami eventually won the game 103-100 to even the series at 3-3. The squad then won Game 7 to earn its second title in as many years.
The Heat owe it all to the late heroics of Allen, who was in his first year with the team after coming over from the Boston Celtics. Without him, none of it would have been possible.
Combining the circumstances, the final moments and more exciting action throughout the game, it is not surprising that it is also nominated for the ESPY for Best Game of the Year.
It would be shocking if it doesn't win.
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