ESPY 2022 Winners: Awards Results, Recap, Top Moments and Twitter Reaction

Erin WalshJuly 21, 2022

AP Photo/Mark Terrill

The 2022 ESPY Awards took place Wednesday at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, with some of the best players, teams and moments in sports being honored.

This year, Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry was tabbed to host after winning his fourth NBA title in a Finals victory over the Boston Celtics.

Curry was one of the show's many highlights. Here's a look at the award winners, top moments and reactions from one of the most memorable nights in sports.

Award Winners

Jimmy V Award for Perseverance: Dick Vitale

Pat Tillman Award for Service: Gretchen Evans

Arthur Ashe Award for Courage: Vitali Klitschko

Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year: Denver Broncos

Sports Humanitarian League of the Year: WNBA

Best MMA Fighter: Charles Oliveira

Best College Athlete, Women's Sports: Jocelyn Alo, Oklahoma softball

Best College Athlete, Men's Sports: Bryce Young, Alabama football

Best MLB Player: Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels

Best NFL Player: Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams

Best NBA Player: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

Best Game: Kansas City Chiefs defeat the Buffalo Bills in OT (AFC Divisional Game)

Best Championship Performance: Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams—Super Bowl LVI

Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award: Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals

Best Breakthrough Athlete: Eileen Gu, Olympic freestyle skier

Best Athlete, Women's Sports: Katie Ledecky, Olympic swimmer

Best Record-Breaking Performance: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors—three-point record

Best Play: Megan Rapinoe, USWNT

Best Comeback Athlete: Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors

Best Athlete, Men's Sports: Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels

Best Team: Golden State Warriors

Full results available at ESPN

Recap, Top Moments and Reaction

Curry kicked off the evening by roasting Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James and explaining that he understands why Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady un-retired.

ESPN @espn

Steph brought out the LeBron jokes early at the ESPYS 😂 <a href="https://t.co/FY4L1bmYfI">pic.twitter.com/FY4L1bmYfI</a>

ESPN @espn

.<a href="https://twitter.com/StephenCurry30?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@StephenCurry30</a> understands why <a href="https://twitter.com/TomBrady?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TomBrady</a> unretired 😂 <a href="https://t.co/SowA1QS6bz">pic.twitter.com/SowA1QS6bz</a>

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

.<a href="https://twitter.com/JayPharoah?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JayPharoah</a>'s impressions are on point 😅 <a href="https://t.co/SQvJ6CILQn">pic.twitter.com/SQvJ6CILQn</a>

Curry also roasted the Celtics' Grant Williams, telling him he might let him wear a championship ring. The NBA champ also took a few other jabs at the Celtics throughout the night.

chan0.eth @chanodesigns

LMAO Steph told Grant Williams "I might let you wear a ring." <a href="https://t.co/YAn4NeHOar">pic.twitter.com/YAn4NeHOar</a>

ClutchPoints @ClutchPointsApp

"I'm your host Stephen Curry. Proud husband of Ayesha Curry. Proud son of Dell Curry. Proud daddy of... The Boston Celtics"<br><br>Steph Curry on how Kevin Hart wanted him to open up The ESPYs🤣<a href="https://t.co/rla11LUyl9">pic.twitter.com/rla11LUyl9</a>

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

"I've been kicked outta bigger situations than this."<br><br>Draymond remembering the 2016 Finals after Steph shut down his live podcast at the ESPYS 😭 <a href="https://t.co/xMN6y7uGMT">pic.twitter.com/xMN6y7uGMT</a>


"I'm live from LA, home of seven professional teams — and the Clippers." <br><br>Draymond with the jokes at the <a href="https://twitter.com/ESPYS?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ESPYS</a> 😂 <a href="https://t.co/K3HWBneo2x">pic.twitter.com/K3HWBneo2x</a>

St. Louis Cardinals veteran Albert Pujols was the winner of the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award for his charitable work, including the Pujols Family Foundation, whose mission statement reads:

"Our Mission is to live and share our commitment to faith, family and others. To promote awareness, provide hope and meet tangible needs for children and families who live with Down syndrome. To improve the standard of living and quality of life for impoverished people in the Dominican Republic through education, medical relief and tangible goods. To provide extraordinary experiences for children with disabilities and/or life threatening illnesses.


"As great as my career has been, my passion is what I do when the season is over and that is to serve and to give back. That is how I want to be remembered."<br><br>The winner of this year's Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award is Albert Pujols 👏❤️ <a href="https://t.co/j1yfXA8IWw">pic.twitter.com/j1yfXA8IWw</a>

Retired Army Command Sergeant Major Gretchen Evans was this year's winner of the Pat Tillman Award for Service after founding Team UNBROKEN, which is "an adaptive racing team of mostly veterans who have experienced life-altering injuries, illness or traumas," per Owen Simpson and Evan Nemec of KTXS.


Retired Army Command Sergeant Major Gretchen Evans formed Team UNBROKEN, a group of veterans and civilians who have experienced life-altering injuries, illness, or traumas that participate in adventure races worldwide.<br><br>She is the recipient of the Pat Tillman Award for Service 👏 <a href="https://t.co/FSlAUOofvZ">pic.twitter.com/FSlAUOofvZ</a>


"Embrace your struggle for what it is, but know that you do not have to do this by yourself."<br><br>This speech from Army Command Sergeant Major Gretchen Evans is so inspiring ❤️ <a href="https://t.co/gM08t05Czq">pic.twitter.com/gM08t05Czq</a>

Pat McAfee @PatMcAfeeShow

THANK YEW RUSTY 🐕‍🦺 <a href="https://t.co/q5OFoLM7Ht">pic.twitter.com/q5OFoLM7Ht</a>

Eileen Gu, who is an American-born Olympic freestyle skier, was the winner of this year's Breakout Athlete of the Year Award after winning three medals at the Beijing Games.

Gu opted to compete for China at the Olympics instead of the United States. Her mother is from Beijing, and she hoped to inspire millions of young people in China by competing for the country.

"I am proud of my heritage and equally proud of my American upbringings," she wrote on Instagram when announcing her decision to compete for China. "Through skiing, I hope to unite people, promote common understanding, create communication, and forge friendships between nations. If I can help to inspire one young girl to break a boundary, my wishes will have come true."

TSN @TSN_Sports

After deciding to compete in the Olympics under the flag of China, Eileen Gu finishes off her Breakout Athlete of the Year speech in style. <a href="https://twitter.com/ESPYS?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ESPYS</a> <a href="https://t.co/M9SB250fNf">pic.twitter.com/M9SB250fNf</a>

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

Eileen Gu was inspired by the women who came before her and hopes to do the same for the next generation 🙌 <a href="https://t.co/8vqvK6T9ak">pic.twitter.com/8vqvK6T9ak</a>

Olympic swimmer Katie Ledecky, who won the ESPY for Best Athlete, Women's Sports, had a special message for young athletes.

ESPN @espn

“To all of the young athletes out there, … find something that you really love, that you’re good at, that can be a positive force in our world.”<br><br>—Katie Ledecky with a message after winning the ESPY for Best Athlete, Women's Sports 💪 <a href="https://t.co/t1mZLyVlxJ">pic.twitter.com/t1mZLyVlxJ</a>

Vitali Klitschko, a former boxer and the current mayor of Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, won this year's Arthur Ashe Award for Courage. He was elected mayor in 2014 and is helping lead Ukraine amid the ongoing Russian military invasion.

ESPN @espn

"This award is not for me. This award is for every Ukrainian who is fighting ... for the future of democracy, for the future of our homeland."<br><br>The Arthur Ashe Award for Courage this year goes to Vitali Klitschko. <a href="https://t.co/ThtCKcxhPC">pic.twitter.com/ThtCKcxhPC</a>

Throughout the evening, various athletes used their time at the podium to express support for Brittney Griner, who has been detained in Russia since February (153 days). Curry, Nneka Ogwumike, Skylar Diggins-Smith and Megan Rapinoe all pushed for Griner's return.

ESPN @espn

Nneka Ogwumike, Stephen Curry and Skylar Diggins-Smith share a powerful message about Brittney Griner.<br><br>"We cannot stop fighting for her. We cannot stop believing for her. And we will not stop hoping for the day when we can welcome her home safely." <a href="https://t.co/gsxFD0iUT8">pic.twitter.com/gsxFD0iUT8</a>

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

"We love her. ... We miss her. ... We're doing every single thing we can to get her out."<br><br>—Megan Rapinoe took a moment to acknowledge Brittney Griner at the ESPYS <a href="https://t.co/5JDFj74bLS">pic.twitter.com/5JDFj74bLS</a>

Holly Rowe @sportsiren

Front of mind! ⁦<a href="https://twitter.com/brittneygriner?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@brittneygriner</a>⁩ <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WEAREBG?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WEAREBG</a> <a href="https://t.co/MRKInKIZTI">pic.twitter.com/MRKInKIZTI</a>

The Chris Mosier @TheChrisMosier

This is leadership. Megan Rapinoe used her acceptance speech to talk about BG. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WeAreBG?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WeAreBG</a> <a href="https://t.co/ZfRUcKDrub">pic.twitter.com/ZfRUcKDrub</a>

Legendary ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale won the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance after being diagnosed with cancer and returning to the sideline to call games.

ESPN @espn

“Don’t bet against me.”<br><br>Dick Vitale is the recipient of the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at this year’s <a href="https://twitter.com/ESPYS?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ESPYS</a> ❤️ <a href="https://t.co/GOCiKRoycO">pic.twitter.com/GOCiKRoycO</a>

Chris Williams @CWillTV

It blows my mind every time they show the behind-the-scenes of someone battling cancer. Dick Vitale is an absolute LEGEND

Matt Price @MAPrice223

DICK VITALE!!! Forever a legend and an inspiration. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AwesomeBaby?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AwesomeBaby</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/VStrongBaby?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#VStrongBaby</a>

Golden State Warriors star Klay Thompson won the Best Comeback Athlete Award and dedicated his acceptance speech to Kobe and Gianna Bryant, who were among the nine people killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, in January 2020.

Thompson won the award after missing the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons with a torn ACL and a torn Achilles. He returned to the court in 2021-22 and helped lead the Warriors to an NBA title.

ESPN @espn

"He inspired me to be the athlete I am today."<br><br>Klay thanks Kobe and Gigi in his ESPYS acceptance speech 🙏 <a href="https://t.co/2q1CahEXPY">pic.twitter.com/2q1CahEXPY</a>

With the 30th annual ESPYs in the books, athletes will now begin their quest to reach the big stage again in 2023.


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