LeBron James, Breanna Stewart, Jake Arrieta, and the Cleveland Cavaliers Among the Night’s Big Winners at The 2016 ESPYS hosted by John Cena


LeBron James, Breanna Stewart, Jake Arrieta, and the Cleveland Cavaliers Among the Night’s Big Winners at The 2016 ESPYS hosted by John Cena

The biggest stars from the worlds of sports and entertainment gathered at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Wednesday night to celebrate the best sports moments of the year at The 2016 ESPYS Presented by Capital One. The show was hosted by WWE Superstar John Cena and aired on ABC.

LeBron James took home his third Best Male Athlete ESPY and his fifth Best NBA Player ESPY, having not won either since 2013, as well as his third Best Championship Performance win. James also shared the Best Team award and Best Moment award with his fellow Cavaliers, who upset the Warriors to earn their first-ever NBA title, and Cleveland’s first in 52 years.

After a third-straight nomination, University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball’s departing star, Breanna Stewart, finally secured a Best Female Athlete title. She topped stiff competition from WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne, record-breaking swimmer Katie Ledecky, and world-leading gymnast Simone Biles.

The Chicago Cubs’ Jake Arrieta earned Best Breakthrough Athlete honors, becoming the first baseball player to take home that award since Alfonso Soriano in 2003. Additionally, best Record-Breaking Performance went to Stephen Curry, whose 402 regular season 3-pointers shattered the single-season record Curry had set himself the previous season.

Three awards served as the emotional pinnacle of the sports celebration. Vice President Joe Biden presented Craig Sager with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance, which is presented annually in honor of the late Jim Valvano and his V Foundation for Cancer Research. Sager was recognized for his unwavering strength and determination in his fight against cancer. Zaevion Dobson, a young man from Knoxville, TN, was honored posthumously with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award for selflessly giving his life to shield two young women from gunfire. Zaevion’s mother Zenobia Dobson accepted the honor on his behalf, which was presented to her by Stephen Curry. And the Pat Tillman Award for Service, was presented to world-class paraswimmer Sgt. Elizabeth Marks for her strength through adversity and continued service to her country.

Justin Timberlake presented the Icon Award to Kobe Bryant, Peyton Manning and Abby Wambach, three legendary athletes who retired from their respective sports this year. The evening also included a touching tribute to Muhammad Ali who passed away last month.

This year’s presenters included:

Chris Berman (ESPN Sportscaster), Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), Skylar Diggins (Dallas Wings), Lisa Leslie (retired WNBA player), David Oyelowo (Queen of Katwe), Usher Raymond IV (Hands of Stone) Lindsey Vonn (American World Skier), Dwyane Wade (Chicago Bulls), and JJ Watt (Houston Texans), among others.

In addition, top athletes and celebrities who attended the show included:

Antonio Brown (Pittsburgh Steelers), Dez Bryant (Dallas Cowboys), Kobe Bryant (retired NBA player), Eric Hosmer (Kansas City Royals), Kerri Walsh Jennings (professional beach volleyball player), DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers), Sydney Leroux (FC Kansas City), Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers), Peyton Manning (retired NFL player), Von Miller (Denver Broncos), Danica Patrick (NASCAR driver), JR Smith (Cleveland Cavaliers), Abby Wambach (retired professional soccer player) and more.


Best Record-Breaking Performance: Stephen Curry

Best Breakthrough Athlete: Jake Arrieta

Best Play: Aaron Rodgers to Richard Rodgers

Best Team: Cleveland Cavaliers

Best Female Athlete: Breanna Stewart

Best Male Athlete: LeBron James

Best Championship Performance: LeBron James

Best Game: NBA Finals Game 7

Best NBA Player: LeBron James

Best MLB Player: Bryce Harper

Best Female Action Sports Athlete: Jamie Anderson

Best Male Action Sports Athlete: Ryan Dungey

Best Jockey: Mario Gutierrez

Best Bowler: Jason Belmonte

Best Female College Athlete: Breanna Stewart

Best Female Athlete with a Disability: Tatyana McFadden

Best Male Athlete with a Disability: Richard Browne

Best Upset: Holly Holm over Ronda Rousey

Best Coach: Tyronn Lue

Best International Athlete: Cristiano Ronaldo

Best Fighter: Conor McGregor

Best NFL Player: Cam Newton

Best NHL Player: Sidney Crosby

Best WNBA Player: Maya Moore

Best Male College Athlete: Buddy Hield

Best Driver: Kyle Busch

Best Male Golfer: Jordan Spieth

Best Female Golfer: Lydia Ko

Best Male Tennis Player: Novak Djokovic

Best Female Tennis Player: Serena Williams

Best MLS player: Sebastian Giovinco


Jimmy V Award for Perseverance: Craig Sager

Arthur Ashe Award for Courage: Zaevion Dobson

Pat Tillman Award for Service: Sergeant Elizabeth Marks

Best Moment: Cleveland wins first title in 52 years

Best Comeback Athlete: Eric Berry

Icon Award: Kobe Bryant, Peyton Manning and Abby Wambach


About The ESPYS

The ESPYS gather top celebrities from sports and entertainment to commemorate the past year in sports by recognizing major sports achievements, reliving unforgettable moments and saluting the leading performers and performances. The 2016 ESPYS will recognize both sport-specific achievements, such as “Best MLB Player” and “Best WNBA Player,” and best-in-sport winners, such as “Best Team” or “Best Female Athlete” that pit nominees from different sports against each other. The ESPYS support ESPN’s ongoing commitment to The V Foundation for Cancer Research, launched by ESPN with the late Jim Valvano in 1993.



Jennifer Cingari Christie

Based in New York City, Jennifer Cingari Christie is a Communications Manager for ESPN Films and Original Content. Her projects include the critically-acclaimed 30 for 30 documentary series, ESPN The Magazine and The ESPYS, among others.
Back to top button