Tonight is the 22nd annual ESPY awards, the awards show for excellence in sport. To celebrate, I’ve decided to take a crack at the ballot and see who I’d pick to win each award.
*Disclaimer: I don’t predict every award, because I feel I don’t know enough to vote intelligently on all categories, such as athletes with disabilities. I do vote for most categories, however.
Best Male Athlete: This one was a close call between Kevin Durant and Peyton Manning, but in terms of setting records I’ll give it to Peyton.
Best Female Athlete: I’m giving this one to Minnesota Lynx guard Maya Moore, the WNBA Finals MVP for all the contributions she made to the best team in the WNBA.
Best Moment: Mariano Rivera’s final game is my pick, seeing as the US defeat over Ghana was just a group stage match, and Kevin Durant’s MVP speech wasn’t even really a sports moment. I imagine next year I’ll be choosing Derek Jeter’s final game.
Best Team: This choice seemed difficult at first, considering how many champions there are to choose from, but after eliminating the college teams and LA Kings (only third in their division in the regular season), I went with the Seattle Seahawks because of their incredible defense that killed the Broncos in the Super Bowl.
Best Comeback Athlete: Here I was down to Russell Westbrook and Sidney Crosby, based on their season performance rather than one good game. I went with Crosby for leading the NHL in points.
Best Breakthrough Athlete: I decided on Masahiro Tanaka in this category because I feel he has the best chance of al the candidates to become an all-time great someday.
Best Championship Performance: Kawhi Leonard was the easy choice for me for how he completely turned the series around in games 3-5.
Best Game: This one was a no-brainer for me. A NFL playoff game with 89 points and a 28 point comeback? Colts vs. Chiefs gets the vote.
Best Upset: While Mercer beating Duke was nice, Duke is upset prone and the real underdogs of the NCAA tourney were UCONN, winning March Madness as a 7-seed.
Best NFL Player: Same as my best athlete, Peyton.
Best NBA Player: In a close one between LeBron and KD, I decided to pick the reigning MVP, as these awards are just about last season. Kevin Durant’s the pick.
Best MLB Player: I find it incredible what Clayton Kershaw’s been able to do over the last two years. Best pitcher in the game by far, and I think best player as well. Heck, he’s even batting above the Mendoza line at .226 right now!
Best NHL Player: I’ll go with the points leader, Sidney Crosby, simple enough.
Best Driver: Jimmie Johnson is making history every season, and now has six titles. I don’t think there’s a more worthy candidate.
Best Coach: Come on, it just has to be Gregg Popovich after this past NBA playoffs. And best of all, he’s coming back next year with Tim Duncan.
Best MLS Player: I mean, seriously, why vote against the MVP. You kind of win that award for a reason! Mike Magee of Chicago Fire gets my pick.
Best International Athlete: I’m going for Rafael Nadal in this one, for winning his thirteenth and fourteenth majors. Sorry Ronaldo, looks like you can’t win everything. I even think I put him behind Inbee Park and Sebastian Vettel in this category.
Best WNBA Player: Again I’m taking the MVP. I’m not going to choose against who has been crowned best player already. Candace Parker is my choice.
Best Male Golfer: Adam Scott’s got my vote, as he is extremely consistent and always feels within range of winning tournaments, especially majors.
Best Female Golfer: Inbee Park won three of the four majors, is ranked #1 in the world, and won player of the year honors. Tough call, huh?
Best Male Tennis Player: Here’s the deal. Novak Djokovic wasn’t nominated for best international athlete, although I may have chosen him there. He gets my vote for this award, however, as I was extremely influenced by this year’s Wimbledon. (Plus Nadal wasn’t too good in that).
Best Female Tennis Player: Who am I to vote against an all-time great with 17 majors? Serena Williams was a dominant player this past year again and deserves this award.
Best Male College Athlete: My pick goes to National Champion and Heisman winner Jameis Winston, lobster thief or not.
Best Female College Athlete: If you watched UConn’s women’s team, I don’t think you can vote against Breanna Stewart, who led a perfect 40-0 team to the title.
Best Play: The Davis FG return in the Alabama – Auburn game is definitely my top play of the year. Just the unlikeliness of this happening and how much it meant for Auburn was enough, but it also knocked out Alabama from title contention, perhaps ending a dynasty.