Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry hosts ESPYS and wins two awards
Curry won the ESPY for Best NBA Player and Best All-Time Performance. That award was for passing Ray Allen for most 3-pointers made in NBA history last season.
Curry joked after accepting the record-breaking performance statue from actor Simu Liu and athlete Lindsey Vonn, “The only reason I wanted to host is because I thought I could show up with the award.”
“It really is a great honor,” Curry added. “The same way I looked up to my dad, Reggie Miller, Ray Allen, the guys who came before me, all records are meant to be broken, so I know there are a lot of young, hard-working kids . I can’t wait to be in the arena when you break that record.”
This was the 29th year of ESPYS, an event that helps raise awareness and funds for the V Foundation for Cancer Research. This charity was founded by ESPN and the late basketball coach Jim Valvano during the first ESPYS in 1993.
Jimmy V Award for Perseverance
Iconic ESPN broadcaster Dick Vitale, 82, was the recipient of this year’s award.
Last August, he announced that he had undergone several surgeries to remove melanoma. In October, he announced that he had been diagnosed with lymphoma. His chemotherapy treatment for lymphoma forced Vitale to retire from ESPN’s college basketball coverage.
Vitale has documented his cancer journey on social media and appeared at the SEC Tournament in March, where he was recognized for his contributions to sports, the league and his fight against cancer.
Vitale announced in April that he was cancer free.
“I’m sitting here and telling you, obviously, the eight months have been tough,” said Vitale, who thanked his wife, Lorraine, and family. “If you know someone who is battling cancer, send a message, send prayers. These messages captured me at the darkest moment. I hear the words of Jimmy (Valvano) in my head ‘Don’t give up don’t, don’t give up.’ … We’re not going to stop chasing the dream. Jimmy’s dream was to beat cancer, and we have to do it.”
Best Athlete, Women’s Sports
At the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, Ledecky won two gold medals to bring the number of individual gold medals in his career to six. At the FINA World Championships this summer, she won four gold medals to become the most decorated swimmer at the event with 22 career world medals.
Accepting his award, Ledecky thanked his parents and brother. She also implored young athletes and young adults to “find something you love, something you’re good at, that can be positive for good in our world.” She added: “I think there are so many heroes not just in sport but all around us – look to these people as role models and go for the gold.”
Arthur Ashe Prize for Courage
Vitali Klitschko, the Hall of Fame boxer and mayor of Kyiv, received the award.
Mayor of the Ukrainian capital since 2014, the former heavyweight champion has long been a vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, Vitali, along with his younger brother and Hall of Famer Wladimir, has been one of the faces of the resistance. The Klitschkos took up arms in a territorial defense battalion in Kyiv; star boxers Vasiliy Lomachenko and Oleksandr Usyk followed suit in other parts of Ukraine.
Best Breakthrough Athlete
Eileen Gu, one of the stars of the 2022 Winter Olympics, was rightfully awarded the ESPY. The prominent California-born freestyle skier, who represented China at the Games, won two golds (big air, halfpipe) and a silver (slopestyle) at a competition in her mother’s hometown , Beijing.
Juggling a grueling schedule and facing huge expectations, the 18-year-old Gu would become the first freeski athlete to medal in three events in a single Olympic Games.
“This is insane!” exclaimed Gu surprised after winning. , many of whom were in the same room.
Gu also hailed “the girls who will come after me” and take the sport of freestyle skiing forward.
Other nominees in the category included Trinity Rodman of The Washington Spirit, Indianapolis Colts come back Jonathan Taylor and Memphis Grizzlies guardian Ja Morant. Gu also won the ESPY for Best Athlete in Women’s Action Sports.
Best Championship Performance
Los Angeles Rams star catcher and Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp won the ESPY for doing exactly what he had been doing all season: delivering when it mattered most. He completed the game-winning one-yard touchdown pass from the quarterback Matthew Stafford with 1:25 remaining to give the Rams their second Super Bowl championship and their first title in Los Angeles since 1951.
Kupp, who also won the NFL’s receiving triple crown, finished with eight catches for 92 yards and two scores against the Bengals, his MVP effort coming in the Rams’ own SoFi Stadium.
Kupp thanked his wife, Anna, and their two sons – who are staying with their grandparents and whom Kupp promised “an extra dessert” tonight. He called the ESPY a “team award” and praised the Rams’ defensive tackle and three-time Defensive Player of the Year. Aaron Donaldwho was also present.
“Just to be in this room with so many people playing at the top of their profession is truly an honor,” Kupp said as he concluded his speech.
Megan Rapinoe has added another ESPY to a decorated career that, starting this month, also includes a Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Competing in her second Olympics with Team USA in Tokyo last summer, Rapinoe scored directly from a corner kick – known as ‘Olimpico’ – in the USA’s bronze medal game against Australia , one of his two goals in the game. It wasn’t even the first time she had pulled off this rare feat – she also did it at the London Olympics in 2012.
In accepting her award, Rapinoe drew attention to WNBA star Brittney Griner, whom the United States considers to be “wrongfully detained” by Russia.
“I honestly think what we witnessed tonight is the importance of sport and all that we can bring and all that we can do in the world with our collective power,” Rapinoe said. “Every time we say his name, it puts pressure on everyone — puts pressure on the administration, puts pressure on Russia. The most striking thing is that BG is not there. BG deserves to be free. … We can support more and let him know that we love him so much.”
Rapinoe’s goal had competition from Baltimore Ravens kicker justin tucker (NFL record 66-yard field goal), Ja Morant’s poster dunk on Malik Beasley in the playoffs, and high school guard Hansel Enmanuel’s electrifying dunk.
Other notable winners announced:
Pat Tillman Award for Service: Gretchen Evans
Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award: Albert Pujols, Cardinals of Saint-Louis
Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year: Denver Broncos
Best MMA fighter: Charles Oliveira
Best MLB Player: Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels
Best NBA Player: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Best Varsity Athlete, Men’s Sports: Bryce Young, Alabama footballer
Best Varsity Athlete, Women’s Sports: Jocelyn Alo, Oklahoma softball
Best game: Kansas City Chiefs beat Buffalo Bills in overtime
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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