LOS ANGELES – The worlds of sports and entertainment came together on Wednesday night at the ESPY Awards, where the Miami Heat scored the top honor of best team for its National Basketball Association championship.
The Heat’s top player, LeBron James, won the ESPY for best male athlete at the televised awards show held by sports cable TV network ESPN.
The star player was in Las Vegas and appeared via a satellite hookup, but two of his teammates – Juwan Howard and Mike Miller – were on hand to accept the team’s award. They took the stage at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles and thanked the fans who voted for them.
The night’s other key award, best female athlete, went to Brittney Griner, who led the Baylor University Bears basketball team to a national championship in their 40-0 season.
The ESPYs, in their 20th year, are given out by ESPN to the best athletes, plays, teams and moments in sports, and are attended annually not just by top athletes but Hollywood stars. Alongside football players like Tim Tebow and Drew Brees were actresses including Jessica Biel and Hayden Panettiere and actor Rob Lowe.
Tebow, a former quarterback for the National Football League’s Denver Broncos who will play for the New York Jets this coming season, won an ESPY for the best moment in sports with the Broncos.
“When you put in a lot of hard work, special things can happen,” the popular player said onstage.
The Los Angeles Kings were awarded the ESPY for their improbable run to the Stanley Cup – the first time the Kings earned the National Hockey League’s championship trophy.
A little bit of “Linsanity” also invaded the Nokia Theater when New York Knicks basketball player Jeremy Lin – an unheralded player before having a star-making season – was given an ESPY for best breakthrough athlete.
Other awards went to Brees for his performance as the New Orleans Saints quarterback and to Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford for his 2011 comeback after an injury the previous season.
Indiana University basketball player Christian Watford was given an ESPY for a game-winning shot, and two honorary trophies went to former University of Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt and former Rutgers University football player Eric LeGrand, who was paralyzed in a game in 2010.