ESPYs 2020: Full List of Award Categories, Format and Preview

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistJune 20, 2020

Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson speaks during a news conference after an NFL wild-card playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Matt Rourke/Associated Press

For fans who have been eagerly awaiting the return of live sports, the 2020 ESPY Awards will offer a bit of a reprieve from their absence. While the show won't serve up the thrill of competition—or even a traditional ESPY experience—it will highlight the feel-good moments that sports have to offer.

This year's ESPYs will be a joint venture with the Sports Humanitarian Awards and won't focus on usual categories such as Best Team or Best Male Athlete. Instead, it will focus on recognizing service, perseverance and humanitarianism.

"We can't really give out a best team award when the teams haven't finished their seasons, and you can't have a best moment when there was no Masters or Wimbledon," MaggieVision Productions VP Jeff Smith explained on Good Morning America (h/t ABC News' Lesley Messer).

The 2020 ESPYs will focus more on what athletes have accomplished away from the field or court over the past calendar year. For example, Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love is set to receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award for his efforts to help destigmatize mental health issues.

"It is an absolute honor to receive this award, and I am incredibly humbled by it," Love said in a statement (h/t ESPN). "In telling my story, if I can help just one child that is suffering to make sense of what they are experiencing, I know my efforts have been worth it."

The ESPYs will also feature a tribute to the late Kobe Bryant and the others who died in a January helicopter crash.

"It's a love letter to Kobe from the streets and the people of Los Angeles," Smith said. "It's a celebration of what he brought to that city."

While the 2020 ESPYs will have a different theme than in years past, it will also have a different look. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be broadcast remotely with an in-home format similar to that of the 2020 NFL draft.

The ESPYs will be hosted by Sue Bird, Megan Rapinoe and Russell Wilson. Expect the hosts and other guests to address issues such as the pandemic and the movement to end systemic racism.

"It's really exciting to be someone who can come into everybody's living room and can help provide that fun aspect, that inspirational aspect, to focus on sports, but listen, there is a lot more going on right now that we’re also going to touch on," Bird said, per Newsday's Neil Best.

The 2020 ESPYs and Sports Humanitarian Awards will kick off at 9 p.m. ET on Sunday.


2020 ESPYs

When: Sunday, June 21 at 9 p.m. ET

TV and Live Stream: ESPN

Hosts: Sue Bird, Megan Rapinoe and Russell Wilson


Awards, Nominees and Winners


Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award


Nelson Cruz, Minnesota Twins

Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers

Devin and Jason McCourty, New England Patriots

Maya Moore, Minnesota Lynx

Titus O’Neil, WWE


Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year


Denver Broncos

Los Angeles Dodgers

New York City FC

Sacramento Kings


Corporate Community Impact Award


Anthem Foundation


Burton Snowboards

Peach Bowl


Can't-Stop-Watching Moment (videos and voting found here)


Jackson State Manager Thomas "Snacks" Lee Drills 3

Riley Sartain-Vaughn Bat Flip

Newtown Wins Title on Anniversary of Sandy Hook Shooting

Obed Lekhehle High Jump


Jimmy V Award for Perseverance

Taquarius Wair, Mesabi Range College


Pat Tillman Award for Service

Kim Clavel, Boxing


Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award

WNBA and WNBA Players Association


Arthur Ashe Courage Award

Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers