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ESPYS 2016 - A reminder of who might win this popularity contest (full list)

  • ESPYS 2016 - A reminder of who might win this popularity contest (full list)

The 24th annual ESPYS is back with a star-studded night celebrating major sports achievements, reliving unforgettable moments and paying homage to the leading athletes, coaches and performances of the past year. As always, it runs the risk of turning into a big popularity contest, but nonetheless, it's still fun.


BEST MALE ATHLETE

Stephen Curry

Cam Newton

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Bryce Harper

LeBron James

This, along with Best MLB Player, are Harper’s first nominations. Despite his popularity though, James or Curry are the likely winners – and this is James’ 12th year in the running. There should be a ‘Most ESPY nominations’ ESPY…


BEST FEMALE ATHLETE

Breanna Stewart

Elena Delle Donne

Katie Ledecky

Simone Biles

The young Ledecky has enthralled Americans and the world with her record-breaking swims over the past 12 months. 


BEST CHAMPIONSHIP PERFORMANCE

Von Miller – Super Bowl

Carli Lloyd – World Cup Final

Sidney Crosby – Stanley Cup Playoffs

LeBron James – NBA Finals

This will be a close one. James’ third NBA Championship win is still fresh in our minds, but so is Crosby’s incredible performance during the Stanley Cup playoffs. As for Miller, the Super Bowl MVP? Those two strip-sacks against Newton were pure magic.


BEST BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE

Jake Arrieta

Conor McGregor

Chloe Kim

Karl-Anthony Towns

Kim is wowing the snowboarding world with skill beyond her years. She's also nominated for Best Action Sports athlete.


BEST RECORD-BREAKING PERFORMANCE

Stephen Curry – single season three-pointers made

Geno Auriemma – most NCAA basketball titles in D1 history (11)

Christian McCaffery – single season NCAAF all-purpose yards


BEST UPSET

Holly Holm knocks out Ronda Rousey – UFC

Middle Tennessee over Michigan State – Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament

Roberta Vinci over Serena Williams – US Open

Just about everyone was shocked at Rousey’s unceremonious loss to Holm. It's safe to say that most of Holm’s votes will come from Broncos fans, since she's a diehard fan herself.


BEST GAME

Villanova vs. North Carolina – Men’s NCAA Basketball Final

Arizona Cardinals vs. Green Bay Packers – NFL Divisional Round

Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers – NBA Finals Game 7

Again, NBA Finals Game 7 is fresh in our minds, but that NCAA final was every bit as nail-biting.


BEST PLAY (16 NOMINEES VOTED BRACKET-STYLE)

• Aaron Rodgers Hail Mary vs. 16. Crazy 66-yard Ole Miss’ TD

• Kris Jenkins buzzer beater vs. 15. Connor McDavid goal

• Michigan St punt block TD vs. 14. Stanford trick play w/ circus catch

• LeBron Game 7 block vs. 13. Louis Oosthuizen hole-in-one off of ball

• Steph Curry 38-foot game-winner vs. 12. Army softball player leaps over tag

• Holly Holm knockout of Ronda Rousey vs. 11. Bartolo Colon first home run

• Tiffany Howard HR robbery WCWS vs. 10. Josh Donaldson diving into stands

• Jairo Samerio scores on scissor-kick ground vs. 9. Dele Alli juggling goal for Tottenham


BEST TEAM 

Cleveland Cavaliers

Pittsburgh Penguins

Kansas City Royals

Denver Broncos

Alabama Crimson Tide

UConn Huskies

Villanova Wildcats

Suffice it to say, it will be fierce competition between the first four on this list. 


BEST COACH/MANAGER

Ned Yost – Kansas City Royals

Geno Auriemma – UConn Huskies

Jay Wright – Villanova Wildcats

Nick Saban – Alabama Crimson Tide

Tyronn Lue – Cleveland Cavaliers

Lue, Yost or Wright. Coaching at its best.


BEST INTERNATIONAL ATHLETE

Cristiano Ronaldo

Novak Djokovic

Lydia Ko

Luis Suarez

Canelo Alvarez

Djokovic has won before, but his controversial comments earlier in the year could ruin his chances of another win.


BEST NFL PLAYER

Cam Newton

Tom Brady

JJ Watt

Antonio Brown

Julio Jones

It will come down to the wire between Watt and Newton, but Watt is such a darn good guy, he'll have the edge.


BEST MLB PLAYER

Bryce Harper

Josh Donaldson

Jake Arrieta

Mike Trout

Clayton Kershaw

It was close between Trout and Kershaw last year, but watch out - there's a new kid on the block – in the form of Harper.


BEST NHL PLAYER

Patrick Kane

Alex Ovechkin

Sidney Crosby

Joe Pavelski

Braden Holtby

Crosby and Holtby have a lot of fans – and it's easy to see why. Kane and Ovechin have a solid chance too.


BEST DRIVER

Kyle Busch

Lewis Hamilton

Erica Enders-Stevens

Scott Dixon

Alexander Rossi


BEST NBA PLAYER

Stephen Curry

Kawhi Leonard

LeBron James

Kevin Durant

Russell Westbrook

All strong contenders, but it's hard to ignore James’ and Curry’s popularity.


BEST WNBA PLAYER

Elena Delle Donne

Maya Moore

Angel McCoughtry

Tina Charles

DeWanna Bonner


BEST FIGHTER

Conor McGregor

Gennady Golovkin

Canelo Alvarez

Robbie Lawler

Roman Gonzalez

BEST MALE GOLFER

Jason Day

Dustin Johnson

Danny Willett

Jordan Spieth

Day, Johnson and Willett have now become household names, but is it enough to end Spieth’s chance of winning this for the second time? 


BEST FEMALE GOLFER

Lydia Ko

Inbee Park

Brooke Henderson

Ariya Jutanugarn


BEST MALE TENNIS PLAYER

Novak Djokovic

Andy Murray

Roger Federer

Djokovic won last year, but he's made a few comments that didn't sit well with many female tennis fans. Federer could win it this time.


BEST FEMALE TENNIS PLAYER

Angelique Kerber

Flavia Pennetta

Serena Williams

Garbine Muguruza

Williams is as strong as ever, and a fantastic rolemodel to boot.

BEST MALE COLLEGE ATHLETE

Derrick Henry

Buddy Hield

Jordan Morris

Jarrion Lawson

Alex Dieringer

Hield was one of the NBA’s best prospects during March Madness, and one the fans’ favorite personalities.


BEST FEMALE COLLEGE ATHLETE

Breanna Stewart

Raquel Rodriguez

Samantha Bricio

Taylor Cummings

Sierra Romero


BEST MALE ACTION SPORTS ATHLETE

Ryan Dungey

Gus Kenworthy

Nyjah Huston

Pedro Barros

Mark McMorris

Dungey and Huston have both won. McMorris has been nominated multiple times – will it finally be his turn? Kenworthy gained huge support when he came out last year, so all bets are off.


BEST FEMALE ACTION SPORTS ATHLETE

Chloe Kim

Keala Kennelly

Jamie Anderson

Carissa Moore

Kim is fast becoming a household name, but Moore’s and Anderson’s success has earned them plenty of fans.


BEST JOCKEY

Mario Gutierrez

Kent Desormeaux

Javier Castellano

Irad Ortiz Jr.

BEST MALE ATHLETE WITH A DISABILITY

Richard Browne

Joe Berenyi

Aaron Fotheringham

Nikko Landeros

Brad Snyder


BEST FEMALE ATHLETE WITH A DISABILITY

Tatyana McFadden

Heather Erickson

Oksana Masters

Shawn Morelli

McFadden has had a lot of success over the past 18 months, and her personality makes her even more likeable.


BEST BOWLER

Jason Belmonte

Jesper Svensson

Ryan Ciminelli

Anthony Simonsen


BEST MLS PLAYER

Sebastian Giovinco

Kei Kamara

Laurent Ciman

Luis Robles

Skill is of the utmost importance, but there's no denying that it takes a back seat come ESPY time. Popularity is the name of the game.

               

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