ESPY 2021 Winners: Awards Results, Recap, Top Moments and Twitter Reaction

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJuly 11, 2021

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 10: Maya Moore attends the 2021 ESPY Awards at Rooftop At Pier 17 on July 10, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

The 2021 ESPY Awards took place Saturday from The Rooftop at Pier 17 in New York City's Seaport District.

Actor Anthony Mackie hosted the show, which returned to a live format after going virtual last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

This also marked the first time the ESPY Awards occurred in New York since 1999. The show has been in Las Vegas, Los Angeles or virtual ever since.

Here's a look at some notable awards results, moments and reaction from the night.


Awards Results

Arthur Ashe Courage Award: Minnesota Lynx forward Maya Moore

Jimmy V Award for Perseverance: Amateur triathlete Chris Nikic

Pat Tillman Award for Service: Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford

Best Championship Performance: 25-time World medalist and gymnast Simone Biles

Best Championship Moment: Los Angeles Dodgers win 2020 World Series over Tampa Bay Rays

Best Athlete, Women's Sports: Four-time tennis major winner Naomi Osaka

Best Athlete, Men's Sports: Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady

Best College Athlete, Women's Sports: UConn guard Paige Bueckers

Best College Athlete, Men's Sports: Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith

Best Coach: Stanford women's basketball coach Tara VanDerveer

Best Play: Hail Mary pass from Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray to wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to defeat Buffalo Bills on Nov.  15, 2020

Best Game: Gonzaga's 93-90 overtime win over UCLA in the Final Four of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament

Best Breakthrough Athlete: Charlotte Hornets point guard LaMelo Ball

All results can be found on ESPN.com.


Recap, Top Moments and Reaction

As always, the ESPY Awards provided no shortage of emotional moments.

One of the night's stars was Minnesota Lynx guard and Arthur Ashe Courage Award winner Maya Moore, who paused her WNBA career to help overturn the wrongful conviction of Jonathan Irons.

ESPN @espn

.<a href="https://twitter.com/MooreMaya?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MooreMaya</a> is the recipient of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.<br><br>Her story of sacrifice, courage and strength will forever inspire ❤️ <a href="https://t.co/81MkFYBoVv">pic.twitter.com/81MkFYBoVv</a>

Moore spoke about the importance of using power to lift up others:

ESPN @espn

"Power is not meant to be gripped with a clenched fist, ... power is meant to be handled generously so we can thoughtfully empower one another to thrive in our communities, ... championing our humanity before our ambitions." —<a href="https://twitter.com/MooreMaya?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MooreMaya</a> <a href="https://t.co/NcLo4VdfPh">pic.twitter.com/NcLo4VdfPh</a>

University of Minnesota women's basketball head coach Lindsay Whalen reacted to Moore's moment:

Lindsay Whalen @Lindsay_13

Maya Moore. Proud to know you.

Charlotte Wilder of Fox Sports and ESPN's Holly Rowe did as well:

Charlotte Wilder @TheWilderThings

Maya Moore is an absolute inspiration and that isn’t nearly a strong enough word for what she actually is

Holly Rowe @sportsiren

Maya Moore wins again. Gracious, thoughtful and magnificent. <a href="https://twitter.com/MooreMaya?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MooreMaya</a> <a href="https://t.co/CmYLDZ9dWE">https://t.co/CmYLDZ9dWE</a>

Chris Nikic, the first person with Down syndrome to complete a triathlon, won the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance.


"We have to get 1% better every day." <a href="https://twitter.com/ChrisNikic?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ChrisNikic</a>, the first person with Down syndrome to complete an <a href="https://twitter.com/IRONMANtri?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@IRONMANtri</a>, is this year's Jimmy V Award for Perseverance recipient.<br><br>An inspiring story of strength, determination and perseverance 👏 <a href="https://t.co/WAjDjcFeXF">pic.twitter.com/WAjDjcFeXF</a>

Much like the namesake for the award, Nikic spoke about the importance of never giving up.

ESPN @espn

"It's easy to make excuses and quit. I don’t do excuses. I don’t quit."<a href="https://twitter.com/ChrisNikic?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ChrisNikic</a>'s speech after receiving the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance was everything 👏 <a href="https://t.co/2FId61blH0">pic.twitter.com/2FId61blH0</a>

Alan Hahn of MSG Network and ESPN Radio reacted to the news of Nikic's win:

Alan Hahn @alanhahn

Here’s the story. My oldest sister has <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DownsSyndrome?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DownsSyndrome</a> and was often the happiest person in my life. To see these stories is emotional and inspiring. Bravo <a href="https://twitter.com/ChrisNikic?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ChrisNikic</a>! <a href="https://t.co/e0hnwzGbjh">https://t.co/e0hnwzGbjh</a>

And two-time Olympic gold medalist and six-time world champion skier Mikaela Shiffrin called Nikic an inspiration:

Mikaela Shiffrin @MikaelaShiffrin

.<a href="https://twitter.com/ChrisNikic?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ChrisNikic</a>, you’re such an inspiration!! Awesome to meet you! 🙌<a href="https://twitter.com/IRONMANtri?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@IRONMANtri</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/ESPYS?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ESPYS</a> <a href="https://t.co/ZFyotflBvv">pic.twitter.com/ZFyotflBvv</a>

Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford's efforts to raise millions for children in England were recognized with the Pat Tillman Award for Service.


Manchester United and England star <a href="https://twitter.com/MarcusRashford?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MarcusRashford</a> is the recipient of this year's Pat Tillman Award for Service.<br><br>Rashford, who has spoken about his reliance on free school meals as a child, helped raise millions of dollars to help feed children in England. <a href="https://t.co/8ECo2LFtOO">pic.twitter.com/8ECo2LFtOO</a>

UConn guard Paige Bueckers accepted her well-deserved award for the best female collegiate athlete. She used her speech to recognize the importance of celebrating, highlighting and promoting the many accomplishments of Black women in sports and said that she would continue to fight for them.

ESPN @espn

"To all the incredible Black women in my life, on my teams. To Breonna Taylor and all the lives lost. To those names I have not yet learned but I hope to share — I stand behind you and I will continue to follow you and follow your lead and fight for you guys.”<br>— Paige Bueckers <a href="https://t.co/uhGiMAYHSu">pic.twitter.com/uhGiMAYHSu</a>

ESPN's Katie Barnes provided their reaction:

Katie Barnes @katie_barnes3

Pretty wowed by this speech. <a href="https://t.co/tbAXKnxgJk">https://t.co/tbAXKnxgJk</a>

Elsewhere, Charlotte Hornets point guard LaMelo Ball kept his acceptance speech for best breakthrough athlete short and sweet as the rain fell:

ESPN @espn

.<a href="https://twitter.com/MELOD1P?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MELOD1P</a> wins Best Breakthrough Athlete and may have had the best speech so far 😂 <a href="https://t.co/ofOkyHtG6G">pic.twitter.com/ofOkyHtG6G</a>

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski also provided some levity when accepting the Bucs' award for the best team after it won Super Bowl LV:

ESPN @espn

“I was like, ‘Damn, s---, we got a s--- load of talent, baby.’”<a href="https://twitter.com/RobGronkowski?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RobGronkowski</a> reflects on a Super Bowl season as the <a href="https://twitter.com/Buccaneers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Buccaneers</a> are awarded an ESPYS for Best Team 🤣 <a href="https://t.co/ZCqCbaPreP">pic.twitter.com/ZCqCbaPreP</a>

The ESPY Awards also welcomed Scripps National Spelling Bee champion, Guinness world-record holder and basketball standout Zaila Avant-garde to the show.


THE 🐐 HAS ARRIVED! <br><br>Scripps National Spelling Bee winner Zaila Avant-garde (<a href="https://twitter.com/Basketballasart?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Basketballasart</a>) is having herself a pretty good week ❤️ <a href="https://t.co/NamCGsF3Pg">pic.twitter.com/NamCGsF3Pg</a>

This year's ESPY Awards marked the 29th edition of the show, which began in 1993.


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