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
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
Elena Delle Donne
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
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
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.
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
Kansas City Royals
Alabama Crimson Tide
Suffice it to say, it will be fierce competition between the first four on this list.
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
Djokovic has won before, but his controversial comments earlier in the year could ruin his chances of another win.
BEST NFL PLAYER
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
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
Crosby and Holtby have a lot of fans – and it's easy to see why. Kane and Ovechin have a solid chance too.
BEST NBA PLAYER
All strong contenders, but it's hard to ignore James’ and Curry’s popularity.
BEST WNBA PLAYER
Elena Delle Donne
BEST MALE GOLFER
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
BEST MALE TENNIS PLAYER
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
Williams is as strong as ever, and a fantastic rolemodel to boot.
BEST MALE COLLEGE ATHLETE
Hield was one of the NBA’s best prospects during March Madness, and one the fans’ favorite personalities.
BEST FEMALE COLLEGE ATHLETE
BEST MALE ACTION SPORTS ATHLETE
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
Kim is fast becoming a household name, but Moore’s and Anderson’s success has earned them plenty of fans.
Irad Ortiz Jr.
BEST MALE ATHLETE WITH A DISABILITY
BEST FEMALE ATHLETE WITH A DISABILITY
McFadden has had a lot of success over the past 18 months, and her personality makes her even more likeable.
BEST MLS PLAYER
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.