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bill-swift - July 13, 2012

Wednesday night at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles there was barely an ounce of body fat in the audience as many of the most amazing athletes were in town for the 20th Annual ESPY Awards. So in case their incredibly large paychecks and the adoration of millions of fans was not enough, those recognized got a shiny new trophy to add to their collection.

Rob Riggle did an admirable job of hosting the show. The best joke of the night came at the expense of the New Orleans Saints: "If only the Saints had some sort of fund that they could pull extra cash from to reward people for doing things on the field." No word on whether Drew Brees found it as funny as the rest of the audience.

Most of the awards came as no surprise. After leading the Miami Heat to the NBA Finals and winning his first Championship LeBron James won three, Male Athlete of the Year, Performance of the Year, and NBA Player of the Year. Brittney Griner of the Baylor Bears was also a big winner, bringing home the ESPY for Female Athlete of the Year and Female College Athlete of the Year.

Other winners include:

  • Arthur Ashe Courage Award: Tennessee Women's Basketball Coach Pat Summitt
  • Jimmy V Award for Perseverance: Former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand
  • Best Play: Christian Watford's shot that gave IU the 73-72 upset win over No. 1 Kentucky
  • Breakthrough Athlete of the Year: New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin
  • Record-Breaking Performance of the Year: New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees
  • Biggest Upset: The Los Angeles Kings, first No. 8 seed to win the Stanley Cup
  • Game of the Year: The San Francisco 49ers' dramatic 36-32 NFC Divisional playoff win over the New Orleans Saints, which saw four lead changes in the final four minutes.
  • Best Moment: Tim Tebow's 80-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL playoffs.
  • Coach/Manager of Year: Tom Coughlin, New York Giants
  • Best Comeback: Detroit Lions' quarterback Matthew Stafford, who came back from offseason shoulder surgery and threw for 5,038 yards last year, fourth most in NFL history.
  • Best International Athlete: Lionel Messi, FC Barcelona's striker and Argentina's captain
  • NFL Player of the Year: Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers)
  • MLB Player of the Year: Josh Hamilton (Texas Rangers)
  • NHL Player of the Year: Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles Kings)
  • Driver of the Year: Tony Stewart
  • WNBA Player of the Year: Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury)
  • Fighter of the Year: Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
  • Male Golfer: Bubba Watson
  • Female Golfer: Cristie Kerr
  • Male Tennis Player: Novak Djokovic
  • Female Tennis Player: Maria Sharapova
  • Male College Athlete: Robert Griffin III
  • Male Action Sports Athlete: Shaun White, skateboarding-snowboarding
  • Female Action Sports Athlete: Jamie Anderson, snowboarding
  • Jockey: Mario Gutierrez
  • Male Athlete with a Disability: Kyle Maynard, climbing
  • Female Athlete with a Disability: Jessica Long, swimming
  • College Athletic Program: Stanford women's athletics and Florida men's athletics
  • Bowler: Sean Rash
  • MLS Player: David Beckham, Los Angeles Galaxy
  • Track and Field Athlete: Walter Dix

        

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