10 Amazing Things That Happened at the ESPY Awards
Caitlyn Jenner’s Heartfelt Speech
The shining star of the ESPY Awards, Caitlyn Jenner accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award amongst family, friends and fellow athletes.
Jenner has been the source of nonstop publicity after she revealed in an interview with Diane Sawyer that she was a transgender. And last night, the ESPY Awards acknowledged the Olympian’s courageous transition, and Jenner took the opportunity to highlight the issues the transgender community face.
“All across the world, at this very moment, there are young people coming to terms with being transgender,” Jenner said. “They’re learning that they’re different, and they’re trying to figure out how to handle that, on top of every other problem that a teenager has.” (Read how more stars feel about themselves in these Refreshingly Honest Celebrity Body Confessions.)
Honoring Lauren Hill
Just three months after college basketball player Lauren Hill passed away from a brain tumor, parents Lisa and Brent Hill accepted the Best Moment award on their daughter’s behalf.
“Lauren’s season was about more than basketball—it was about life lessons, and most importantly, living in the moment,” Lisa Hill said.
Before she passed away, Hill raised over $1.5 million for cancer research. She continues to raise money through her organization, Layup 4 Lauren, which donates money to The Cure Starts Now Foundation. Hill left the crowd with an empowering message to live in the moment and keep Lauren’s memory alive.
Serena Williams Strikes Again
After winning a title (again) at Wimbledon earlier this week, Serena Williams made it clear just how boss she is by taking home her ninth ESPY award for Best Female Tennis Player.
Williams was not present to accept the award (she’s busy in Sweden winning more titles, natch), but having already clinched three of the four Grand Slam titles, no one was shocked that Williams was chosen to receive the prestigious award.
Basketball Veteran Accepts Award For Service
After a severe arm injury that ultimately led to amputation, Notre Dame basketball alumnus and Army veteran Danielle Green won the Pat Tillman Award for Service last night and inspired everyone watching with one simple question: what’s my purpose?
"If my story leaves you with one thing tonight, I hope it leaves you with a challenge," Green said. "Ask yourself: What's my purpose? What's my passion? What do I want my legacy to be? How can I live as a full human being?"
U.S. Women’s Soccer Kicks Some Grass
As if they needed any more validation after bringing in 31 million viewers for their final match against Japan, the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team took home the award for Best Team at the ESPYs.
“We did this for America and our fans,” team captain Abby Wambach said to an enthusiastic audience. “I’m so happy that I have these girls to celebrate this with; it’s been the best 10 days of our lives.” Right on! (This team totally deserved to get 25 Different Sports Illustrated Covers.)
14-Year-Old Takes Home Best Breakthrough Athlete
Yes, you read that correctly: 14-year-old Little League pitcher Mo’ne Davis beat out Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones, professional golfer Jordan Spieth, and New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. for the ESPY Award for Best Breakthrough Athlete after leading her team to the Little League World Series last year.
During her acceptance speech, Davis thanked her family and her team for their unwavering support. Davis is one of two girls who played in the 2014 Little League World Series and the first African-American girl to ever play in the World Series. The rising star has already released a memoir and is the first Little League player to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated. (We called it! Mo'ne is one of 11 Talented Young Athletes Dominating the Sports World.)
Ronda Rousey Burns Floyd Mayweather
Not only did UFC fighter Ronda Rousey take home the award for Best Fighter, beating out male boxer Floyd Mayweather, but she made it very clear how she feels about the boxer’s history of domestic violence.
“I wonder how Floyd feels being beaten by a woman for once,” Rousey said on the red carpet. “I’d like to see him pretend not to know who I am now,” she added, referring to an earlier instance when he claimed he didn’t know who Rousey was. Anyone else want to see the two box it out?
Lindsey Vonn Ravishes in Red
Skiing star Lindsey Vonn looked breathtaking in a floor-length red dress with a scandalous slit up to her thigh, reminding everyone that athletes are sexy. In fact, you could argue that she rocked that dress better than some celebrities could. Luckily, the athlete suffered no wardrobe malfunctions, despite the scary-high slit.
(She may look sexy in a dress, but Vonn really rocks it on the slopes. Remember when she broke a skiing record, inspiring female athletes everywhere?)
Devon Still Pays Tribute to his Daughter
While accepting the Jimmy V. Perseverance Award on behalf of five-year-old daughter Leah, Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still shared the journey of her battle with cancer in a moving video.
“For the past year, my daughter has basically been going through hell,” Still said in the video. “She never complains. She’s been my strength through this whole battle.”
LeBron James Wins, Despite Losing
His team may not have won the NBA Championship, but he did go home with a consolation prize. In a shocking turn of events, Cleveland Cavalier LeBron James took home the ESPY for Best Championship Performance last night.
“Second place got me this… this wasn’t expected at all,” James joked.
James beat out San Francisco Giants World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner, Women’s College World Series Most Outstanding Player Lauren Haeger, and Triple Crown winner American Pharoah (yes, the horse) for the award.