Each year, the ESPY Awards give athletes a chance to look back at the previous year's events and reflect on the most exciting players, moments and teams that continue to make sports great.
The 2013 ESPYs were hosted by Mad Men star Jon Hamm in Los Angeles Thursday night, and provided us with yet another clue that sports' premier award show is inching closer to being mentioned in the same breath with the Academy Awards, Golden Globes and other celebrations in excellence awarded to celebrities.
Miami Heat forward LeBron James headlined the winners of various awards in individual and team excellence, capturing three ESPY trophies. The NBA MVP won awards for Best Male Athlete, Best Championship Performance and Best NBA Player, and was involved in two other collective awards (Best Game, Best Team).
Serena Williams took home the most coveted women's trophy as the Best Female Athlete, while Florida Gulf Coast got a chance to relive their epic run through the 2013 NCAA tournament by winning the award for Best Upset.
Williams, Adrian Peterson and Michael Phelps joined James as the other multiple award winners on the evening.
It was truly a night for the stars in L.A., but as always with award shows of this nature, it was the moments that we will remember when looking back at this event. Check out the sections below to recap the activities that stole the show on Wednesday night.
Complete List of 2013 ESPY Winners, Honors:
|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||Shaun White|
|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|
|Arthur Ashe Courage Award*||Robin Roberts|
|Jimmy V Perseverance Award*||Dick and Rick Hoyt|
Robin Roberts, Dick and Rick Hoyt Presented With Arthur Ashe, Jimmy V Honors
We can debate Best Team or Best Play any day of the week, but no one was debating whether or not Robin Roberts deserved to win the Arthur Ashe Courage Award on Wednesday night. After hearing about the story behind Dick and Rick Hoyt's journey, no one was debating that either.
While her athletic accomplishments didn't extend past Southeastern Louisiana State, Roberts is a role model for both athletes and human beings everywhere.
A breast cancer survivor who recently overcame MDS as well, Roberts' courage and poise in the face of her own personal difficulties has been a shining example for those struggling with illness and difficulties of any kind.
The former ESPN broadcaster and current ABC morning show host was given a video tribute by the award show before she took the stage, and that video in itself would have been enough to include her on any list that stole the show.
She then provided continuity with a speech that reminded us all why the special award is one of the ones that always humble the audience and put things into perspective.
Team Hoyt was the recipient of the Jimmy V Perseverance Award, and if you haven't seen the story of the father-son duo that travels all over the world to compete in triathlons and marathons, you really need to.
Dick Hoyt was not a runner by trade, but was inspired by a magazine article and began racing with his son. Rick, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth, is unable to move but is by his father's side each time the duo complete a race.
As of April, 73-year-old Dick and 51-year-old Rick have competed in over 1,000 endurance events. That includes triathlons, where Dick pulls a boat in the water, rides a bike with an attachment and pushes a special carriage with his son during each phase of the race.
The Hoyts are nothing short of incredible, both individually and as a team.
We all wish the special awards didn't have to exist, but from Arthur Ashe and Jim Valvano to Roberts and the Hoyts, the amount of excellence and character portrayed over the years is enough to really take a step back and appreciate the little things in life.
And sometimes those things have nothing to do with sports.
If there was any question of whether or not LeBron James is the biggest athlete in the world right now, the ESPYs helped shut down those who feel the title belongs to anyone else.
James took home three individual ESPYs and was involved in two other awards, serving as more icing on the cake he first cut by winning his second NBA Finals title (and MVP) in June.
It's hard to talk about James these days without seeming redundant.
The 28-year-old is in the midst of the best basketball of his career, is an international star and was the unquestioned best athlete in attendance at the ESPYs on Wednesday night. If there's anymore we can say about James right now (Los Angeles Lakers fans might want me to reference this SportsCenter tweet) and not beat a dead horse, someone let me know.
Other Stars, Moments
With the ESPYs taking place in L.A., we should have known the Dwight Howard jokes would run rampant.
Hamm took time to poke fun of D12, James and other top stars during his monologue, but it was the harsh words on Howard that brought some of the biggest laughs of the evening.
Moving to the college scene, this year's leading candidates to win the Heisman trophy both took home awards on Wednesday night.
For Best Play, Jadeveon Clowney took home the award for his hit in South Carolina's bowl game against Michigan. The show's official Twitter account reminded us all just how ferocious the potential No. 1 overall NFL draft pick can be:
Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel was also in attendance. Hours after speaking to the SEC media in Hoover on Wednesday, Manziel caught a flight and arrived in L.A. in time to win the Best Male College Athlete award.
Aggie Football had a picture of their star:
After the events that led to his early exit from the Manning Passing Academy last weekend and the litany of questions asked about his offseason activities in different media circles, Manziel likely felt less pressure at the ESPYs than anywhere he made a public appearance at on Wednesday.
Other athletes who took home individual trophies had plenty of claims to their hardware.
Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera was the Best MLB Player, Peterson won Best Comeback and Best NFL player, Brittney Griner's college dominance won her Best Female College Athlete and Tiger Woods was once again the Best Male Golfer.
The individual awards are nice, and encompass many of the ways that one person can influence the game that they love. But it's the moments and memories of the action that often live on longer than an individual stat line, and rightly so.
Jack Hoffman won the award for Best Moment, and rightly so.
The 7-year-old cancer patient scored a tear-jerking touchdown in Nebraska's spring game earlier this year and captivated fans everywhere in the process. His courage rivals many who are far beyond his years.
Other moments that won awards were "Dunk City's" upset victory over Georgetown in the second round of the NCAA tournament, Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals winning Best Game and Phelps' record-breaking performance in the 2012 Olympics.
In addition to Hamm, several other Hollywood stars and comedians made appearances during skits and videos during the show. Jay Pharoah made a surprise appearance as Jay-Z, and despite your opinion of the skit's effectiveness, there aren't many who will forget some of the shots taken at the rap icon.
With so many athletes, celebrities and others in attendance, it's hard to capture an entire year of sports in one night. This year's ESPYs lived up to the task, though, and provided us with plenty of memories to hold onto while still looking forward the events that will make up the 2014 event.
Follow B/R's Ethan Grant (@DowntownEG) on Twitter.
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