The 2017 ESPY Award Show took place on Wednesday night in Los Angeles, with sports’ biggest and brightest stars taking to center stage. Numerous awards were handed down across multiple sports and categories to help honor a wild year of sports that featured countless moments of drama, exhilaration, and heartbreak.
Best Breakthrough Athlete: Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
The first award of the evening was handed out to Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, as he was named the Best Breakthrough Athlete of 2017.
Prescott’s rise prominence, as well as the Cowboys starting quarterback job has been well-documented. Selected by the franchise in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of Mississippi State, Prescott was the emergency policy for quarterback Tony Romo that became the starter when Romo broke his back during the pre-season.
He would go on to lead the Cowboys to a 13-3 regular season and bring the franchise to the No. 1 seed in the NFC and usurp Romo permanently as the signal caller in Dallas.
Best Record-Breaking Performance: Michael Phelps
The most dominant athlete in Olympic history just kept getting better last summer, when Michael Phelps captured five additional gold medals in Rio, bringing his career medal total to 28, with 23 of those having been gold.
Pat Tillman Award: Master Sgt. Israel Del Toro
This is the fourth year in which the Tillman Award has been handed out. Del Toro, who won a Gold Medal at the 2016 Invictus Games in the men’s shot put, has his body covered 80 percent by burn wounds suffered during duty. In 2010, he became the first fully disabled person to re-enlist in the Air Force.
Best Coach: Bob Hurley Sr., St. Anthony’s HS
The famed coach of St. Anthony’s HS in New Jersey, Bob Hurley Sr. is recognized as the Best Coach, heading into a season in which he has no team. St. Anthony’s, in Jersey City, New Jersey, is closing, leaving the program’s 28 state titles under Hurley in 45 years without the possibility of improving. The 69-year-old has indicated he is not interested in retirement and plans to continue coaching.
Best Moment: Chicago Cubs win 2016 World Series
There was a 108-year drought in Wrigleyville that ended this past Fall when the Chicago Cubs climbed out of a 3-1 deficit against the Cleveland Indians and claimed the World Series crown for the first time since 1908. Cubs fans waited and waited and finally their moment came, culminating with an ESPY win for the Best Sports Moment of the past year.
Best Game: Super Bowl LI, New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons
The 28-3 lead that the Falcons squandered turned into the best game of the season, leading to the Patriots winning their fifth Super Bowl. It became the first Super Bowl in history to enter overtime, with New England launching the largest comeback in the history of the extravaganza.
Jimmy V Award: Jarrius Robertson
The 15-year-old New Orleans native that has battled a chronic liver disease since he was a small child was awarded with the Jimmy V Award, which has been handed out since 2007. Robertson joins past winners like Craig Sager, Stuart Scott, and Eric LeGrand.
Best Championship Performance: Kevin Durant
The Golden State Warriors steamrolled the Cleveland Cavaliers en route to their second NBA Championship in the past three seasons, their first with Kevin Durant as a member of the team. Durant pulled in his first ESPY of the evening stemming from his 35-point performance against the Cavaliers in the series-clinching Game 5, which came on the heels of his dagger three-pointer in Game 3.
Icon Award: Vin Scully
The legendary broadcaster was honored following his 67 seasons spent as the voice of the Dodgers franchise. The 2017 season is his first not in the booth since 1949, having handed over the reins of the Dodgers at age 89. Widely beloved for his congenial manner, Scully defined what it meant to be a play-by-play broadcaster for nearly an entire generation.
Best Play: Aaron Rodgers to Jared Cook
After Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers pulled in the award for NFL Player of the Year earlier in the night, he collects his second ESPY by hooking up with Cook in one of the premier plays of the season. The play was the deciding factor in Green Bay’s upset of the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Playoffs, with Cook now having departed the Packers for the Oakland Raiders.
Arthur Ashe Courage Award: Eunice Kennedy Shriver
The sister of the former President, John F. Kennedy, Eunice Kennedy helped to found the Special Olympics. She passed away in 2009 and was posthumously given the award by former First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama.
Best Female Athlete: Simone Biles
Member of the United States Gymnastics team, Biles dominated at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, adding four gold medals to her arsenal. She becomes the first American woman to collect that many golds in a single Olympics, and at just 4-foot-8, the 20-year-old was given the honor of being a flag bearer for the stars and stripes.
Best Male Athlete: Russell Westbrook
The NBA’s MVP for the 2016-17 season was named overlord of the sports world on Wednesday. Becoming just the second player in NBA history to average a triple-double for the entire season, Westbrook carried his Thunder team to the NBA playoffs, just to get bounced in the first round. Playing for the first time in his career without Kevin Durant, Westbrook unleashed a different side of his arsenal and it culminated with winning the top male athlete of the year award.
Best Team: Golden State Warriors
The Warriors took domination to the next level during the 2016-17 year. They won *only* 65 games during the regular season after winning a record 73 games the year before, just to open the 2017 playoffs with a 15-0 record. By adding Kevin Durant to the fold, the Warriors were able to claim their second NBA title in the past three years, overcoming the Cavaliers in five games.