LeBron James won the Best Male Athlete ESPY award Wednesday and thanked the crowd in Los Angeles from Team USA's haunt in Las Vegas via video and on Twitter:
HUGE S/O to the Fans though! U guys mean everything to me. #loveyouguys
— LeBron James (@KingJames) July 12, 2012
The Best Team winners just grabbed their second NBA title:
Thank you twHEAT fans! Your votes helped us win the ESPY for Best Team. We appreciate all the amazing support!
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) July 12, 2012
Juwan Howard and Mike Miller accepted for the NBA champions. "They sent the big two instead of the Big Three," Miller said. And Howard added: "We'd also like to thank the Big Three. But more importantly, we'd like to thank the Little 12 -- you see two of them right now."
Fans voted on the Best Team honors via Twitter. Or voted against in some cases. (Love later tweeted he was only kidding.):
.@ESPYS #bestteam @kingjames Not the Heat!!!!! #LOL
— Kevin Love (@kevinlove) July 12, 2012
Kansas alum and show host Rob Riggle had some trouble when it came to congratulating men's basketball coach John Calipari on Kentucky's national title (which came at the expense of his beloved Jayhawks) during the opening monologue. He brought out Jets QB Tim Tebow to handle that distasteful task. "That guy's been shadowing me all week. Hey, Sanchez, good luck with that all season," Riggle said as Tebow walked off the stage.
It wasn't the last appearance for Tebow on the night. Riggle then went after Anthony Davis' unibrow: "You were picked No. 1 in the NBA draft, you should put on your happy eyebrow." And there was more:
Looks like 2 caterpillars making love on your forehead #ESPY
— Chris Harris (@ChrisHarrisNFL) July 12, 2012
Calipari and Davis were unbowed in their support for Kentucky:
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) July 12, 2012
One of the region's NHL teams -- that would be the Kings -- won the Best Upset category for their Stanley Cup victory over the New Jersey Devils. Earlier, Steve Nash received a warm welcome from the Los Angeles crowd and Riggle tried out a few nicknames for the newest Laker point guard before settling on "Kobe beef and Nash potatoes." The host also noted that New Orleans could sign free-agent QB Drew Brees "if only the Saints had some sort of fund to pull extra cash from to reward people for doing things on the field."
Athletes tuned into the show -- both in person and elsewhere:
Rob Riggle is amazing! @ESPYS
— Evan Longoria (@Evan3Longoria) July 12, 2012
But not everyone was watching:
While everyone watches the Espy's I'm working on a way to win one.
— Shaun Phillips (@ShaunPhillips95) July 12, 2012
Stars of all types turned out, and some even came with baseball players:
— Lynn Hoppes (@lhoppes) July 11, 2012
Riggle lauded Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who got into trouble after being photographed with a porn star wearing his jersey, "for being the man we all want to be. ...The only thing missing from that picture was an American flag and an astronaut."
Espy's off the Hook right now.... Lmaothe host have me super weak
— Mike Vick (@MikeVick) July 12, 2012
Knicks guard Jeremy Lin won the first ESPY of the night as Best Breakthrough Athlete, which was presented by Tebow and Jessica Biel.
— Jeremy Lin (@JLin7) July 12, 2012
She had other concerns:
— Jessica Biel (@JessicaBiel) July 12, 2012
Bubba Watson got some major help in his bid for most popular golfer:
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) July 11, 2012
Tebow thanked his old teammates ("Take care of them, Peyton") after winning the Best Moment award with Demaryius Thomas for their 80-yard game-winning TD pass in OT against Pittsburgh in the playoffs.
Then things got a little crazy on Twitter. Yes, that's the University of Georgia (sort of) complimenting a former Gator:
— Georgia Bulldogs (@UGAAthletics) July 12, 2012
Riggle also took some time out to visit with a few stars who weren't able to attend, and he later did a "live" video chat with Blake Griffin and Love:
— NBA (@NBA) July 12, 2012
From NBA via TwitPic
Among the other winners presented during the telecast were Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford (Best Comeback Athlete), Baylor's Brittney Griner (Best Female Athlete), Brees (Best Record-Breaking Performance), Indiana's Christian Watford (Best Play) and the 49ers vs. Saints NFC Championship Game (Best Game).
Stafford noted his comeback shared something in common with his new hometown:
— Detroit Lions (@DetroitLionsNFL) July 12, 2012
An emotional high point of the night came when Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award for Courage. Summitt, who is battling early-onset Alzheimer's disease, vowed to "keep on keeping on."
Gronkowski joined many others in offering their support:
— Rob Gronkowski (@RobGronkowski) July 12, 2012
Former Rutgers defensive lineman Eric LeGrand, who was paralyzed during a game in 2010, won the "Jimmy V Perseverance Award." He, too, left viewers humbled.
Eric Legrand..iam inspired..#Believe
— Dwyane Wade (@DwyaneWade) July 12, 2012
The ESPYS weren't all about sports and awards, there was also a little music:
— iamdiddy (@iamdiddy) July 12, 2012
Even Nash was a bit starstruck:
— Steve Nash (@SteveNash) July 12, 2012
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