On Wednesday evening, the biggest stars in sports and entertainment convened at The Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles to celebrate the year’s best moments in sports at The 2022 ESPYS Presented by Capital One. Airing live on ABC, the show was hosted by recent NBA Champion and Finals MVP Stephen Curry. Curry opened the show with playful jokes towards his NBA contemporaries before reflecting on his offseason, noting that hosting tonight was welcome after hosting his children’s birthday parties.
Famed impressionist Jay Pharoah then joined the 4-time champ on stage for a musical number, celebrating that the sharpshooter has “finally made it” by hosting the ESPYS.
The first award of the evening, Best Championship Performance, went to Los Angeles Rams receiver Cooper Kupp for his two touchdowns in the Rams’ win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Kupp’s former teammate Odell Beckham Jr. and Ted Lasso star Hannah Waddingham presented the award to him. Best Breakthrough Athlete was awarded to Olympic Gold Medalist skier Eileen Gu and Best Athlete, Women’s Sports went to Olympic Gold Medalist swimmer Katie Ledecky. After that, Curry accepted the award for Best Record Breaking Performance after surpassing Ray Allen for the most 3-pointers in NBA History. The host also won for Best NBA Player.
Megan Rapinoe’s unbelievable Olympic corner kick goal against Australia won Best Play. Best Comeback Athlete was awarded to NBA All-Star Klay Thompson, who recovered from a torn ACL and a torn achilles that had him sidelined since the 2019 NBA Finals. Los Angeles Angels superstar pitcher and slugger Shohei Ohtani took home Best Athlete, Men’s Sports and Best MLB Player.
Each year, The ESPYS recognizes individuals in the sports world who have demonstrated admirable perseverance, courage and strength in the face of adversity with three marquee awards: the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance, the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage and the Pat Tillman Award for Service. Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter Ciara and Denver Broncos’ quarterback Rusell Wilson presented the Pat Tillman Award for Service to author, athlete, and retired Army Command Sergeant Major Gretchen Evans. After suffering a life-altering injury while serving in the Army, Evans founded Team UNBROKEN, an adaptive racing team of mostly veterans who have experienced life-altering injuries, illness or traumas.
Later in the evening, Black Adam star and XFL Owner Dwayne Johnson accepted the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage on behalf of Vitali Klitschko, who could not be in attendance. The former heavyweight boxing champion and current Mayor of Kyiv was recognized for being an inspiration to people around the globe as one of the faces of the Ukrainian resilience to the Russian invasion. Top Gun: Maverick’s Jon Hamm and ESPN’s Chris Berman presented the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance to legendary broadcaster and Hall of Famer Dick Vitale, who battled melanoma and lymphoma before a March 2022 scan declared he was cancer free. Invoking the memory of his great friend Jimmy V, Vitale encouraged those in the theater and watching at home to continue contributing to the fight against cancer. Vitale has raised millions of dollars for pediatric cancer research and the V Foundation over the years. He left the crowd with a reminder to continue pursuing their dreams and that perseverance plus passion plus pride equals win.
Honoring the 50th anniversary of the passing of Title IX, women’s sports legends Billie Jean King, Lisa Leslie, Brandi Chastain and Carolyn Peck took the stage to speak about the bill’s impact on women’s athletics. They were followed by sports stars Jocelyn Alo, Layshia Clarendon, Chloe Kim, Allyson Felix, Oksana Masters, Aly Raisman, and Megan Rapinoe who spoke to the ongoing fight for rights, recognition and equality women still face today. The moment was accompanied by a performance from Country Music star Mickey Guyton.
This year, the show also featured two of the Sports Humanitarian Awards. The Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award was presented to St. Louis Cardinal’s legend Albert Pujols for his work with the Pujols Family Foundation to improve the health and quality of life for thousands of people living in poverty in the Dominican Republic. The Billie Jean King Youth Leadership Award honored five high school and college students for using the power of sports to improve their communities. Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year was the Denver Broncos, and the WNBA was recognized as the Sports Humanitarian League of the Year.
The final award of the evening for Best Team was presented by The Woman King’s John Boyega and Grammy Award winning recording artist Lil Wayne to Curry and Thompson’s Golden State Warriors.
The ESPYS raises awareness and funds for Foundation for Cancer Research, the charity founded by ESPN and the late basketball coach Jim Valvano at the first ESPYS back in 1993. ESPN and the V Foundation have vowed to continue to raise awareness and funds for cancer research until there is victory over cancer. This year, the V Foundation has a generous donor who will be matching gifts to the V Foundation up to a total of $1 million. For more information, go to V.org.
COMPLETE LIST OF THE 2022 ESPYS WINNERS
Best Championship Performance: Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams
Best Breakthrough Athlete: Eileen Gu, Skiing
Best Athlete, Women’s Sports: Katie Ledecky
Best Athlete, Men’s Sports: Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels
Best Record-Breaking Performance: Stephen Curry most 3-pointers made in NBA history
Best Play: Megan Rapinoe Scores from the Corner
Best Comeback Athlete: Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
Best Team: Golden State Warriors
Best NWSL Player: Ashley Hatch, Washington Spirit
Best MLS Player: Carlos Vela, LAFC
Best Athlete with a Disability, Men’s Sports: Brad Snyder, Paratriathlon
Best Athlete with a Disability, Women’s Sports: Jessica Long, Swimming
Best Athlete, Men’s Action Sports: Eli Tomac, Supercross
Best Athlete, Women’s Action Sports: Eileen Gu, Skiing
Best College Athlete, Men’s Sports: Bryce Young, Alabama Football
Best College Athlete, Women’s Sports: Jocelyn Alo, Oklahoma Softball
Best International Athlete, Men’s Soccer: Kylian Mbappé, PSG
Best International Athlete, Women’s Soccer: Sam Kerr, Chelsea
Best MLB Player: Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels
Best MMA Fighter: Charles Oliveira
Best NBA Player: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Best WNBA Player: Candace Parker, Chicago Sky
Best NFL Player: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Best NHL Player: Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers
Best Athlete, Men’s Golf: Justin Thomas
Best Athlete, Women’s Golf: Nelly Korda
Best Athlete, Men’s Tennis: Rafael Nadal
Best Athlete, Women’s Tennis: Emma Raducanu
Best Bowler: Kyle Troup
Best Boxer: Tyson Fury
Best Driver: Kyle Larson, NASCAR
Best Game: Kansas City Chiefs defeat the Buffalo Bills in OT
Best Jockey: Jose Ortiz
Best Olympian, Men’s Sports: Caeleb Dressel, Swimming
Best Olympian, Women’s Sports: Katie Ledecky, Swimming
Best WWE Moment: Cody Rhodes returns to WWE at Wrestlemania
Jimmy V Award for Perseverance: Dick Vitale
Arthur Ashe Award for Courage: Vitali Klitschko
Pat Tillman Award for Service: Gretchen Evans
SPORTS HUMANITARIAN AWARDS
Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award: Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals
Billie Jean King Youth Leadership Award: Noor Abukaram, Kendall Dudley, Sydney Moore, Alicia Serratos, Lucy Westlake
Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year: Denver Broncos
Sports Humanitarian League of the Year: WNBA
Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award Honorees: Chris Evert, Steve Gleason, Dikembe Mutombo