The day after the MLB All-Star Game may be known as the "slowest day in sports," but it gave us the opportunity to celebrate the greatest individuals, teams and performances from the past year.
Although the ESPY Awards may not be for everyone, it's hard to deny the allure of reminiscing over some unforgettable moments with host Jon Hamm, AKA Don Draper.
LeBron James and Serena Williams took home the top individual awards, neither of which was their first, per ESPN Stats & Info:
LeBron James is the first repeat winner of Best Male Athlete since Lance Armstrong won 4 straight from '03-06. #ESPYS— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 18, 2013
Serena Williams is the first tennis player to win the Best Female Athlete ESPY since... Serena Williams in 2003. #ESPYS— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 18, 2013
James' marvelous year (and night) continued when his Miami Heat won awards for Best Team and Best Game for their scintillating Game 6 NBA Finals win over the San Antonio Spurs.
They celebrated like most people would—in the photo booth with Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson:
Unfortunately for Wilson, that was his top moment of the night, as he came up short in Best Breakthrough Athlete to fellow NFC West QB Colin Kaepernick.
Other big-time winners included Michael Phelps (Best Record-Breaking Performance), Florida Gulf Coast University (Best Upset) and Jadeveon Clowney (Best Play).
Clowney made a little bit of history with the win:
Jadeveon Clowney's hit is the first college football play to take home the Best Play ESPY since Boise State's 2-point conversion in 2007.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 18, 2013
Let's take a look at all the winners and top moments from the night in Los Angeles.
Complete List of Winners:
|Best Male Athlete||LeBron James|
|Best Female Athlete||Serena Williams|
|Best Championship Performance||LeBron James|
|Best Breakthrough Athlete||Colin Kaepernick|
|Best Record-Breaking Performance||Michael Phelps|
|Best Upset||Florida Gulf Coast over Georgetown|
|Best Game||Heat vs. Spurs Game 6|
|Best Moment||Jack Hoffman|
|Best Play||Jadeveon Clowney's big hit|
|Best Team||Miami Heat|
|Best Coach/Manager||Rick Pitino|
|Best Comeback||Adrian Peterson|
|Best International Athlete||Usain Bolt|
|Best NFL Player||Adrian Peterson|
|Best MLB Player||Miguel Cabrera|
|Best NHL Player||Sidney Crosby|
|Best Driver||Ryan Hunter-Reay|
|Best NBA Player||LeBron James|
|Best WNBA Player||Candace Parker|
|Best Fighter||Floyd Mayweather Jr.|
|Best Male Golfer||Tiger Woods|
|Best Female Golfer||Stacy Lewis|
|Best Male Tennis Player||Novak Djokovic|
|Best Female Tennis Player||Serena Williams|
|Best Male College Athlete||Johnny Manziel|
|Best Female College Athlete||Brittney Griner|
|Best Male Action Sport Athlete||Nyjah Huston|
|Best Female Action Sport Athlete||Stephanie Gilmore|
|Best Jockey||Joel Rosario|
|Best Male Athlete With A Disability||Jeremy Campbell|
|Best Female Athlete With A Disability||Jessica Long|
|Best Bowler||Pete Weber|
|Best MLS Player||Thierry Henry|
|Best Male US Olympic Athlete||Michael Phelps|
|Best Female US Olympic Athlete||Missy Franklin|
Robin Roberts Receives Arthur Ashe Courage Award
Twenty years ago, Jim Valvano made his legendary acceptance speech after winning the inaugural Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Ever since then, the award has always provided the stage for the best part of the ESPYs. And this year was no different.
One of the lives that Valvano helped impact with his part in raising cancer awareness was the recipient of this year's award—Robin Roberts.
Roberts, who survived breast cancer in 2008 and MDS (a rare blood and bone marrow disease) recently, is more than just courageous; she is talented, extremely successful and an inspiration to us all. The video tribute to her left very few dry eyes in the house or at home, as noted by Big Lead Sports' Stephen Douglas:
This Robin Roberts piece... ESPN can kick you in the stomach when they try.— Stephen Douglas (@CRM_Stephen) July 18, 2013
Then Roberts gave her speech, further exemplifying her grace:
Grantland's Rembert Browne summed it pretty well:
robin speaks better than everyone, ever.— Rembert Browne (@rembert) July 18, 2013
This is this epitome of "deserved winner."
Jack Hoffman Wins Best Moment
If you haven't seen this "moment," I highly suggest watching:
For the uninitiated, Hoffman is a seven-year-old cancer patient, and he got the opportunity of a lifetime when the Nebraska football team put him in for a play during its spring game. What follows, as you can see above, is incredibly heartwarming.
It was yet another example of the power of sports.
Hoffman was dealt a tough hand in life, but sports has given him a venue of escape to create some truly memorable, positive moments—like having his picture taken with Heisman winner Johnny Manziel:
There were some great candidates for this award, but Jack was the rightful winner.
Dick and Rick Hoyt Receive Jimmy V Perseverance Award
The story of Dick and Rick Hoyt is one of love, determination, courage and inspiration.
Words truly can't do the story justice, but here are a few appropriate tweets from New York Islanders forward Matt Martin and Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen:
If I become half the father Mr Hoyt is ill be thrilled. That was one of most amazing stories of father/son love I have ever heard #espys— Greg Olsen (@gregolsen82) July 18, 2013
It's stories like these that make the ESPYs worth watching.