The 2008 ESPYs co-presented by HUMMER and Under Armour to be Televised
Sunday, July 20 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN HD
The biggest stars from the worlds of sports and entertainment gathered in downtown Los Angeles at the NOKIA Theatre L.A. LIVE on Wednesday night to celebrate the best sports stories of the year at The 2008 ESPYs co-presented by HUMMER and Under Armour.
Justin Timberlake entertained the all-star audience throughout the night with a funny and creative performance that emphasized his passion for sports, including an original ‘rock opera’ that the host wrote specifically for the show. The 16th annual industry-wide sports celebration will be televised on ESPN and ESPN HD Sunday, July 20 at 9 p.m. ET.
The Super Bowl Champion New York Giants added to their trophy collection, winning ESPYs in three categories: Best Game, Best Upset and Best Play, the latter for David Tyree’s epic leaping catch of an Eli Manning pass that kept the Giants’ game-winning drive alive. Tiger Woods had a record night, winning his fifth Best Male Athlete ESPY (passing Lance Armstrong for most wins in the category), his fourth straight ESPY for Best Golfer, and the Best Championship Performance award for his incredible victory at the 2008 U.S. Open with a severely injured left leg. Woods’ three wins builds his record to 21, more than anyone in ESPYs history.
This year’s number one overall WNBA draft pick, Los Angeles Sparks star Candace Parker took home two ESPYs, for Best Female Athlete and Best Female College Athlete. As a member of the Tennessee Lady Vols, she led her team to back-to-back NCAA Women’s Basketball Championships, averaging 21.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.4 blocks and 2.3 steals in 38 games during 2007-08 season in which her team achieved a 36-2 record.
Legendary NFL quarterback Brett Favre was honored at The 2008 ESPYs, taking home the award for Best Record Breaking Performance, his fourth career ESPY. He had a remarkable 2007 season with the Green Bay Packers, breaking Dan Marino’s mark for career touchdown passes, throwing the record-breaking 421st TD to Greg Jennings in a September 2007 win over Minnesota, and finishing the season with 442.
The Arthur Ashe Courage Award, which each year recognizes individuals whose contributions transcend sports, was presented by Samuel L. Jackson and Steve Nash to 1968 Olympic medalists Tommie Smith and John Carlos who stood upon the victory stand, bowed their heads and raised their black-gloved fists toward the sky as the national anthem played – an action the two men said represented not only the American struggle for racial equality but the universal struggle for basic human rights.
In another emotional moment, former Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everett was presented the Jimmy V ESPY for Perseverance, in honor of the late Jim Valvano and The V Foundation for Cancer Research. Everett, after suffering what was deemed a paralyzing spinal cord injury during an NFL game, has gone through rehab and is walking again, and was on hand at The ESPYs to accept his award.
The ESPY for Best Comeback was awarded this year to Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton who, after several years battling addiction issues, is finally playing up to his potential this season, leading the Major Leagues in RBI at the All-Star break (95) and earning an All-Star game start. Earlier this week, Hamilton wowed Yankee Stadium with his power during the Home Run Derby, where he hit a record 28 homers in the first round.
In the Best Moment category, Western Oregon University softball player Sara Tucholsky was on hand, along with Central Washington University’s Mallory Holtman and Liz Wallace, who were recognized for an act of truly great sportsmanship that took place during a Division II Great Northwest Athletic Conference game. With the score tied 0-0 and two runners on base, Tucholsky hit her first career home run, but missed first base, started back to tag it, and collapsed with a knee injury. Her opponents Holtman and Wallace stunned spectators by carrying Tucholsky around the bases so the three-run homer would count.
Other ESPY winners included Roger Federer, who won his fourth straight ESPY in the Best Male Tennis Player category. In addition to Woods and Federer, four other 2007 winners got repeat victories in their individual sport categories for 2008: Sidney Crosby (Best NHL Player), Norm Duke (Best Bowler), Floyd Mayweather (Best Fighter) and Maria Sharapova (Best Female Tennis Player). Other winners included the Boston Celtics (its first Best Team ESPY), Alex Rodriguez (Best Baseball Player), Kobe Bryant (Best NBA Player), David Beckham (Best MLS Player), Lauren Jackson (Best WNBA Player), Tom Brady (Best NFL Player) and Jimmie Johnson (Best Driver).
In addition to those named above, this year’s guest presenters included, Ashanti, Beckham, Kristen Bell, Chris Berman, Sophia Bush, Helio Castroneves, Zac Efron, Fergie, Brendan Fraser, Tony Gonzalez, Jon Hamm, Greg Kinnear, Jet Li, Adriana Lima, Terrell Owens, Parker, Danica Patrick, Robin Roberts, Stuart Scott, Annika Sorenstam, Kiefer Sutherland, Kate Walsh, Forest Whitaker and Venus Williams, and GRAMMY-winning rapper Lupe Fiasco entertained the crowd as part of this year’s house band.
For the fifth-straight year, winners for all ESPYs were determined by online fan voting (except for the Arthur Ashe, Jimmy V and Best Comeback awards). Below is a complete list of 2008 winners.
The 2008 ESPYs – WINNERS
ARTHUR ASHE COURAGE AWARD: John Carlos and Tommie Smith, 1968 Olympic medalists
JIMMY V AWARD FOR PERSEVERANCE: Kevin Everett, former Buffalo Bills TE
BEST COMEBACK: Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers
BEST IN SPORT
BEST FEMALE ATHLETE: Candace Parker, Tennessee Basketball/Los Angeles Sparks
BEST MALE ATHLETE: Tiger Woods, Golf
BEST MOMENT: “Great Sportsmanship” (Central Washington University’s Mallory Holtman and Liz Wallace, Western Oregon University’s Sara Tucholsky)
BEST TEAM: Boston Celtics
BEST COACH/MANAGER: Pat Summitt, Tennessee Women’s Basketball
BEST GAME: New York Giants over New England Patriots at the Super Bowl
BEST CHAMPIONSHIP PERFORMANCE: Tiger Woods, 2008 U.S. Open
BEST PLAY: New York Giants Eli Manning’s pass to David Tyree at the Super Bowl
BEST FINISH: Western Kentucky over Drake in the first round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, winning on a buzzer beater by Ty Rogers
BEST UPSET: New York Giants over New England Patriots at the Super Bowl
BEST BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE: Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
BEST RECORD BREAKING PERFORMANCE: Brett Favre, Green Bay Packers
BEST SPORTS MOVIE: Semi-Pro
BEST MALE COLLEGE ATHLETE: Tim Tebow, Florida Football
BEST FEMALE COLLEGE ATHLETE: Candace Parker, Tennessee Basketball
BEST MALE ATHLETE WITH A DISABILITY: Ryan Kocer, Wrestling (Wagner, SD)
BEST FEMALE ATHLETE WITH A DISABILITY: Shay Oberg, Softball (Montana State-Billings)
BEST INTERNATIONAL MALE ATHLETE: Rafael Nadal, Tennis
BEST INTERNATIONAL FEMALE ATHLETE: Lorena Ochoa, Golf
BEST BASEBALL PLAYER: Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees
BEST NBA PLAYER: Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
BEST WNBA PLAYER: Lauren Jackson, Seattle Storm
BEST NFL PLAYER: Tom Brady, New England Patriots
BEST NHL PLAYER: Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
BEST MLS PLAYER: David Beckham, Los Angeles Galaxy
BEST MALE ACTION SPORT ATHLETE: Shaun White, Skateboarding/Snowboarding
BEST FEMALE ACTION SPORT ATHLETE: Gretchen Bleiler, Snowboarding
BEST BOWLER: Norm Duke
BEST DRIVER: Jimmie Johnson
BEST FIGHTER: Floyd Mayweather, Boxing
BEST GOLFER: Tiger Woods
BEST JOCKEY: Kent Desormeaux
BEST OUTDOOR ATHLETE: Captain Scott Smiley, Mountain Climber
BEST MALE TENNIS PLAYER: Roger Federer
BEST FEMALE TENNIS PLAYER: Maria Sharapova
BEST TRACK AND FIELD ATHLETE: Tyson Gay
HUMMER “LIKE NOTHING ELSE” AWARD: George Martin walks across America
UNDER ARMOUR UNDENIABLE MOMENT: Warner Robins, Georgia beats Tokyo to win the Little League World Series Championship Game with a Dalton Carriker walk-off home run in the bottom of the 8th inning (extra innings)
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 2008 ESPYs co-presented by HUMMER and Under Armour will include both sport-specific awards such as Best Baseball 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.