Nominees Announced for The 2009 ESPYs

espnFans will determine the winner in 37 categories (excluding special awards) by voting online at or via mobile phone at

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 2009 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 honor ESPN’s commitment to The V Foundation for Cancer Research, a partnership launched with the late Jim Valvano at the inaugural ESPYs in 1993.

ESPN’s one-hour nomination show will be televised Fri., June 26 at 8p.m. ET on ESPN2.

For the second time in several years, a limited amount of ESPYs tickets are available for public purchase through The 2009 ESPYs will be taped Wednesday, July 15 from the Nokia Theatre at L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles and televised Sunday, July 19 at 9 p.m. ET.


In addition to the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, which will be given to Nelson Mandela, two special ESPYs will be presented this year: the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance, honoring Don Meyer, Northern State University coach who refused to give up on life while battling cancer and surviving a major car crash; and Best Comeback, being given to Dara Torres who, after an eight-year absence and at 40 years old, competed in the 2008 Olympics, winning three silver medals.
Will Tiger Woods add to his record 21 ESPYs? He is nominated for Best Male Golfer.

Michael Phelps has won one prior ESPY (2005 Best Male Olympic Performance). He can add to his trophy case this year as he is nominated for four awards: Best Male Athlete, Best Championship Performance, Best Record Breaking Performance and Best U.S. Male Olympian.

Kobe Bryant and LeBron James go head-to-head among the candidates for Best Male Athlete. The last NBA player to win that coveted award was Michael Jordan in 1993. Also in the category is Phelps, who could be the first Olympian to win the award since Michael Johnson in 1997. Jimmie Johnson, if he won, would be the first auto racer to win the Best Male ESPY.

Kobe Bryant, last year’s Best NBA Player, is up for Best Male Athlete, Best Championship Performance and Best NBA Player this year.

Serena Williams is one of the candidates for Best Female Athlete. Serena won that ESPY back in 2003.

Geno Auriemma is trying to make it two straight Coach/Manager wins for women’s college basketball. Pat Summitt of Tennessee won it last year. Phil Jackson is trying to become the first NBA coach to win the honor since Larry Brown in 2004.