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Monday, June 26, 2006
Updated: June 28, 2:18 PM ET

NOMINEES ANNOUNCED AND FAN VOTING BEGINS FOR 14TH ANNUAL ESPYS Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Seattle and University of Texas with Multiple Nods; Seven-time Winner Annika Sorenstam up for Two More; Peyton Manning and Lauren Jackson go for Three-peat; Shaun Alexander, Albert Pujols, Vince Young, Kobe Bryant, Hannah Teter and Shaun White with Trio of Bids; Dwyane Wade, James Blake and Soccer Great Ronaldinho Double Up ESPN will Televise the 14th Annual Sports Celebration from Hollywood's Kodak Theatre Sunday, July 16, 2006 at 9 p.m. ET

Nominees for The 2006 ESPYS Co-presented by GMC and Under Armour have been announced. Los Angeles-area teams and their players lead all other cities with 12 nominations, with strong showings out of Austin, Texas, Pittsburgh, Miami, Chicago, Seattle and St. Louis. ESPYS host Lance Armstrong is in contention to win his fourth-straight award in the Best Male Athlete category  that is, if he can withstand the pressure from fellow nominees Vince Young, Shaun Alexander, LeBron James and Albert Pujols. Not to be outdone by the men, up for Best Female Athlete in 2006 are seven-time ESPY winner Annika Sorenstam, NHRA driver Melanie Troxel, three-time WNBA MVP Sheryl Swoopes and snowboarder Hannah Teter. Athletes receiving the most individual nods are Teter, Alexander, Pujols, Young, snowboarder Shaun White and Kobe Bryant with three each, while Peyton Manning and Lauren Jackson each try to collect their third trophy. Armstrong will be the first athlete to host The ESPYS when ESPN televises the 14th annual industry-wide sports celebration Sunday, July 16 at 9 p.m. ET.

The 2006 ESPYS will celebrate the top moments, most emotional stories and best performances of the past year in sports. The awards include 20 "Best in Sport" categories pitting athletes from different sports against each other, along with 17 individual sport categories and two sponsored awards. Recognizing individuals whose contributions transcend sports, the Arthur Ashe Courage Award will be presented to a group of young, female athletes who play in organized soccer leagues in post-Taliban Afghanistan.


For the third consecutive year, fans will determine the winners in all contested categories, by voting June 26 through midnight July 8 at (last year, more than 10 million votes were tabulated). In addition, this year's nominees will be featured, discussed and debated on Tuesday, June 27, at 7 p.m. on ESPN during The ESPY Nomination Show presented by GMC from New York City's 40/40 Club. The show, co-hosted by Stuart Scott and television personality Melyssa Ford, will include commentary by in-studio guests Armstrong, Hines Ward and others, along with Jim Rome and Pardon the Interruption's Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon.

Also, on ESPN360's new "The ESPYS" channel, viewers can watch behind-the-scenes content from past ESPYS, video of on-stage moments and ESPYS features, Jim Valvano's memorable 1993 Arthur Ashe Courage Award acceptance speech and nomination analysis from the Nomination Show. The channel's ESPYS content offerings will culminate with 360 at The ESPYS, a live show from The ESPYS red carpet with Thea Andrews and Dana Jacobson.


The recently completed NBA Finals was the coming-out party for Finals MVP and Best NBA Player nominee Dwyane Wade (also up for Best Championship Performance) and Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki. They, along with LeBron James and Bryant, go up against two-time NBA MVP, and last year's winner Steve Nash. After a year on ice, the NHL is well-represented with goalie Cam Ward of the recently crowned Stanley Cup Champion Carolina Hurricanes up for Best NHL Player along with Jaromir Jagr, Joe Thornton and Alexander Ovechkin (also nominated for Best Breakthrough Athlete).

NFL running back Alexander, who is also nominated in the Best Male Athlete and Best NFL Player categories, is one of two NFL stars to be nominated for Best Record-Breaking Performance, in recognition of his 28 touchdowns  a single-season record. Pittsburgh Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger, at age 23, was the youngest quarterback to lead his team to a Super Bowl victory, going up against the Seahawks; and at The ESPYS, they will be competing with Kalen Pimentel's Little League World Series-record tying and American record-setting 18 strikeouts in six innings, and freestyle motocross star Mike Metzger's 125-foot "Impossible Jump"  the first person to complete a back flip over the fountains at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.


Smells like team spirit: Three of the Best Coach/Manager nominees  the Chicago White Sox' Ozzie Guillen, Pittsburgh Steelers' Bill Cowher and Miami Heat's Pat Riley  head up rosters in the Best Team category. The other two teams nominated are Maryland Women's Basketball and Texas Football, with the men's basketball coaches from Florida (Billy Donovan) and George Mason (Jim Larranaga) getting the nods in their category.

How to measure "amazing": Bryant's 81 points against Toronto on January 22  in a game that saw the Raptors head into halftime with a 63-49 lead  is up for the Best Sports Moment of the year, but his competition is considerable. George Mason Men's Basketball and its improbable run to the Final Four are nominated, as is 13-year-old Dakoda Dowd who scored a birdie on her first LPGA hole as her mother Kelly Jo  sick with bone and liver cancer  looked on. And who can forget autistic high school student Jason McElwain (J-Mac) scoring an unforgettable 20 points in just over four minutes after being put into a game as reward for his dedication and passion to the sport?

Coming up roses: The Longhorns' win over USC at the Rose Bowl may have taken place months ago, but Texas is still reaping the benefits, by way of five ESPY nominations for football this year: Best Team, Best Game and Young's Best Championship Performance, Best Male College Athlete and Best Male Athlete nods. But wait  the Trojans' football team has five as well, one which is shared with UT (Best Game) and two which go up against their rivals (both Bush and Leinart are nominated for Best Male Collegiate Athlete). Who will come out on top this time?

What's in the cards? The St. Louis Cardinals, led by Pujols' three nominations  one, for Best Baseball Player, against his teammate Chris Carpenter  are tied with the Los Angeles Lakers for professional teams with four nominations a piece (followed by three each for the Miami Heat and Pittsburgh Steelers).

Getting schooled: In the collegiate categories, LSU hoops star Seimone Augustus is once again up for Best Female College Athlete, but so is Texas softball's Cat Osterman, last year's winner. Duke's J.J. Reddick and Gonzaga's Adam Morrison represent the hardwood in a football heavy Best Male College Athlete field.

Two-fers: Two new award categories have been introduced for this year's ESPYS: Best International Athlete and Best Footballer (that's "soccer" to many fans in the U.S.). Nominated in both is Brazilian star Ronaldinho  one of a baker's dozen of individuals hoping to bring home two trophies. The others are basketball stars Wade, James, Nowitzki and Swoopes, USC's Leinart and Bush, first woman Driver of the Year winner Troxel, Indianapolis 500 winner Sam Hornish, Jr., and tennis players Blake, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Venus Williams.

Presenters already confirmed to attend The 2006 ESPYS include: Will Ferrell, Dwyane Wade, Mariah Carey, LeBron James, Ben Stiller, Ashley Judd, Reggie Bush, Greg Kinnear, Venus Williams, Jimmy Kimmel, Kiefer Sutherland, Shaun White, Rosario Dawson, Terrell Owens, Carmen Electra and Jake Gyllenhaal, among others.

The entire list of ESPYS nominees:


BEST FEMALE ATHLETE Annika Sorenstam, Professional Golfer Hannah Teter, Snowboarder Melanie Troxel, Driver Sheryl Swoopes, Houston Comets

BEST MALE ATHLETE Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals Lance Armstrong, Cyclist LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers Shaun Alexander, Seattle Seahawks Vince Young, Texas Football

BEST MOMENT Dakoda Dowd, 13 years old, plays in LPGA event, fulfilling sick mother's dream George Mason beats UConn, makes Final Four Jason McElwain scores 20 points in four minutes L.A. Lakers' Kobe Bryant scores 81 points against Toronto Raptors

BEST TEAM Chicago White Sox Maryland Women's Basketball Miami Heat Pittsburgh Steelers Texas Football

BEST COACH/MANAGER Ozzie Guillen, Chicago White Sox Bill Cowher, Pittsburgh Steelers Billy Donovan, Florida Men's Basketball Jim Larranaga, George Mason Men's Basketball Pat Riley, Miami Heat

BEST GAME NLDS Game 4: Astros vs. Braves Rose Bowl (National Championship): USC vs. Texas U.S. Open Quarterfinals: Andre Agassi vs. James Blake

BEST CHAMPIONSHIP PERFORMANCE Dwyane Wade, NBA Finals Sam Hornish Jr., Indianapolis 500 Venus Williams, Wimbledon Vince Young, Rose Bowl

BEST PLAY Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Aaron Rowand's catch while crashing into the fence and breaking his nose NY Mets third baseman David Wright's barehanded catch vs. San Diego Nathan Vasher's (Chicago Bears) record 108-yard return of a missed field goal USC's Reggie Bush's punt return vs. Washington Tyrone Prothro's TD catch for Alabama vs. Southern Mississippi

BEST COMEBACK James Blake, Tennis Player Ronny Turiaf, Los Angeles Lakers Tedy Bruschi, New England Patriots

BEST BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals Chris Paul, New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets Kimmie Meissner, Figure Skater Shaun White, Snowboarder

BEST RECORD-BREAKING PERFORMANCE Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers Kalen Pimentel, Rancho Buena Vista Little League Mike Metzger, Freestyle Motocross Rider Shaun Alexander, Seattle Seahawks

BEST SPORTS MOVIE Four Minutes Dreamer Glory Road Greatest Game Ever Played

BEST MALE ACTION SPORT ATHLETE Jamie Bestwick, BMX rider Jeremy Stenberg, Motocross Rider Kelly Slater, Surfer Ricky Carmichael, Motocross Rider Shaun White, Snowboarder

BEST FEMALE ACTION SPORT ATHLETE Cara-Beth Burnside, Skateboarder Dallas Friday, Wakeboarder Gretchen Bleiler, Snowboarder Hannah Teter, Snowboarder Janna Meyen, Snowboarder

BEST MALE COLLEGE ATHLETE Adam Morrison, Gonzaga Basketball J. J. Redick, Duke Basketball Matt Leinart, USC Football Reggie Bush, USC Football Vince Young, Texas Football

BEST FEMALE COLLEGE ATHLETE Seimone Augustus, LSU Basketball Courtney Thompson, Washington Volleyball Virginia Powell, USC Track Christine Sinclair, Portland Soccer Cat Osterman, Texas Softball

BEST MALE ATHLETE WITH A DISABILITY Anthony Robles, Wrestler Bobby Martin, Football Player Steve Cook, Nordic Skier

BEST FEMALE ATHLETE WITH A DISABILITY Rachael Scdoris, Sled Dog Racer Laurie Stephens, Skier Sarah Reinertsen, Triathlete

BEST U.S. OLYMPIAN Ted Ligety, Skier Julia Mancuso, Skier Hannah Teter, Snowboarder Shaun White, Snowboarder

BEST INTERNATIONAL ATHLETE Roger Federer, Tennis Player Rafael Nadal, Tennis Player Fernando Alonzo, Driver Ronaldinho, Footballer Albert Pujols, Baseball Player Dirk Nowitzki, Basketball Player


BEST BASEBALL PLAYER Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees Chris Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox

BEST NBA PLAYER Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns

BEST WNBA PLAYER Diana Taurasi, Phoenix Mercury Lauren Jackson, Seattle Storm Lisa Leslie, Los Angeles Sparks Sheryl Swoopes, Houston Comets Tamika Catchings, Indiana Fever

BEST NFL PLAYER Brian Urlacher, Chicago Bears LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego Chargers Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts Shaun Alexander, Seattle Seahawks Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers

BEST NHL PLAYER Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitols Cam Ward, Carolina Hurricanes Jaromir Jagr, New York Rangers Joe Thornton, Boston Bruins/San Jose Sharks

BEST ANGLER (FORMERLY BEST OUTDOORS) Greg Hackney Ish Monroe Preston Clark Tammy Richardson

BEST BOWLER Chris Barnes Norm Duke Tommy Jones Walter Ray Williams Jr.

BEST BOXER Bernard Hopkins Floyd Mayweather Jermain Taylor Oscar De La Hoya

BEST DRIVER Dan Wheldon Jimmie Johnson Melanie Troxel Sam Hornish Jr. Tony Stewart

BEST GOLFER Annika Sorenstam Phil Mickelson Tiger Woods BEST JOCKEY Edgar Prado Garrett Gomez John Velazquez

BEST MLS PLAYER Dwayne DeRosario, San Jose Earthquakes (now Houston Dynamos) Jaime Moreno, DC United Landon Donovan, Los Angeles Galaxy Taylor Twellman, New England Revolution

BEST FOOTBALLER Andriy Shevchenko, Ukraine Frank Lampard, England Ronaldinho, Brazil Thierry Henry, France

BEST MALE TENNIS PLAYER David Nalbandian James Blake Rafael Nadal Roger Federer

BEST FEMALE TENNIS PLAYER Amelie Mauresmo Justine Henin-Hardenne Kim Clijsters Venus Williams

BEST FEMALE TRACK AND FIELD ATHLETE Allyson Felix Michelle Perry Sanya Richards

BEST MALE TRACK AND FIELD ATHLETE Asafa Powell Bershawn Jackson Justin Gatlin


GMC PROFESSIONAL GRADE PLAY AWARD Philadelphia Phillies' Aaron Rowand: Breaks nose hitting fence while making catch Pittsburgh Steelers' Antwaan Randle-El: Option pass to Hines Ward for Super Bowl TD Tennessee's Candace Parker: Two dunks in NCAA tourney game New England Patriots' Doug Flutie: First successful drop kick since 1941

UNDER ARMOUR UNDENIABLE PERFORMANCE AWARD Ohio State's A.J. Hawk: MVP performance in Fiesta Bowl win L.A. Lakers' Kobe Bryant: 81-point game against Toronto USC's Matt Leinart: Game-ending TD run to beat Notre Dame Philadelphia Phillies' Ryan Howard: Wins NL Rookie of the Year, hits 22 HR


The ESPYS gather top celebrities from sports and entertainment to commemorate the past year's best sports stories by recognizing major achievements, reliving unforgettable moments and saluting the leading performers and performances. The 2006 ESPYS will include both sport-specific awards such as Best MLB Player and Best WNBA Player and distinguishing "Best in Sport" awards, categories that pit different sports against each other, such as Best Team or Best Female Athlete. The ESPYS are committed to the advancement of The V Foundation for Cancer Research, established by ESPN with the late Jim Valvano and announced at the inaugural ESPYS in 1993.

*The show will be taped on Wednesday, July 12 at 6 p.m. PT.