Not surprisingly, two of the more memorable champions in the history of their respective sports took center stage at the 2017 ESPYS.
NBA champions the Golden State Warriors, who breezed through the NBA Playoffs with a 16-1 record, were awarded the Best Team award while the Chicago Cubs won Best Moment for winning their first World Series title in 108 years.
Because the awards ceremony falls during the baseball season, no current Cubbies were on hand to accept the trophy, so actor and die-hard Cubs fan Bill Murray accepted on their behalf.
“108 years of waiting is hardly a moment,” Murray joked. “This is the culmination of 108 years of momentum. Momentum by momentous men,” he added before listing off former Cubs players who never enjoyed the thrill of victory.
Murray then enjoyed a champagne-soaked celebration with presenter and fellow Cubs fan Nick Offerman and retired Cubs champion David Ross, who showed off some of the moves he learned on Dancing with the Stars.
Retired NFL superstar Peyton Manning served as the MC for the evening and he had fun with his former colleagues.
“Unfortunately my brother Eli can’t be here tonight, because that’s what I told the folks at the door,” he joked about his younger sibling who plays for the New York Giants.
“I know in my heart the Falcons will be back,” he said. “I want the Falcons to hear that from me now, at the beginning of the show, because I know that they’ll stop paying attention three quarters of the way in,” he added, referencing their blown 28-3 in the NFL’s biggest game.
The night wasn’t all about famous athletes and movie stars as real-life heroes were also honored.
Master Sgt. Israel Del Toro, who overcame burns on over 80 percent of his body to rejoin the Air Force and compete in adaptive sports, was awarded the Pat Tillman Award for Service and 15-year-old New Orleans Saints superfan Jarrius “JJ” Robertson, who has battled a chronic liver disease since birth, won the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance.
“Don’t ever give up. These are the words by Jimmy V I have been living by my entire life,” Robertson said. “I have been doing things I never thought I could have done before – and earning the Jimmy V award tonight is amazing.”
Other notable winners included legendary broadcaster Vin Scully for the Icon Award and the late Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver whose Arthur Ashe Courage Award was presented posthumously to Shriver’s son Tim by former First Lady Michelle Obama.
Below is the complete list of winners from the 2017 ESPYS.
Best Male Athlete
Russell Westbrook, NBA
Best Female Athlete
Simone Biles, Gymnastics
Best Championship Performance
Kevin Durant, NBA Finals
Bob Hurley Sr.
Best Breakthrough Athlete
Dak Prescott, NFL
Best Record-Breaking Performance
Michael Phelps extends his own record of most gold medals/most Olympic medals
Mississippi State defeats Connecticut, Women’s NCAA Basketball Final Four
Chicago Cubs final out in Game 7 of 2016 World Series
Patriots vs. Falcons, Super Bowl
Best Comeback Athlete
Jordy Nelson, NFL
Aaron Rodgers to Jared Cook, Green Bay Packers, NFL divisional round
Golden State Warriors, NBA
Best International Athlete
Usain Bolt, Track and Field
Best NFL Player
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Best MLB Player
Mike Trout, LA Angels
Best NHL Player
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Lewis Hamilton, Formula One
Best NBA Player
LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
Best WNBA Player
Candace Parker, Los Angeles Sparks
Demetrious Johnson, MMA
Best Male Golfer
Best Female Golfer
Best Male Tennis Player
Best Female Tennis Player
Best Male College Athlete
DeShaun Watson, Clemson football
Best Female College Athlete
Kelly Barnhill, Florida softball
Best Male Action Sports Athlete
Mark McMorris, Snowboard
Best Female Action Sports Athlete
Anna Gasser, Snowboard
Best Male Athlete With a Disability
Steve Serio, Wheelchair Basketball
Best Female Athlete With a Disability
Becca Meyers, Swimming
Best MLS Player
David Villa, New York City FC
Best Male US Olympic Athlete
Michael Phelps, Swimming
Best Female US Olympic Athlete
Simone Biles, Gymnastics
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(Photo Credit: Instagram)