The 2021 ESPY Awards
The 2021 ESPY awards saw a range of incredible athletes add something new to their trophy cabinet, in a night that celebrated their achievements not just within their sport, but also as a result of their impact on the wider world.
Basketball's stars and stars to be took home a range of different awards last night amongst a field of other stars in their respective sports. The 'Best College Game' Award was given to the NCAA March Madness 2021 Final Four Game between Gonzaga and UCLA, which you'll remember ended with a halfcourt buzzer beater by Jalen Suggs to win it for the Zags, 93-90.
Staying on the topic of College Sports, Uconn's Paige Bueckers won the award for Best College Athlete in a year where as a Freshman, she broke an unbelievable amount of records for the Huskies. She averaged 20.1 PTS, 5.9 ASTS and 4.8 REBS whilst becoming the first Uconn player ever to score 30 or more points in 3 consecutive games and also broke the record for most points scored in the NCAA Debut with 24 points. Her acceptance speech was also something special, as she shared an important message in her support and appreciation for black women.
Lamelo Ball took home the award for Best Breakthrough Athlete presented to him by Carolina's own, DaBaby. The rain for one reason or another, seemed to do something to Lamelo's memory and led to a memorable acceptance speech...
Stephen Curry took home the NBA's best player award whilst Breanna Stewart took home the repsective award for the WNBA in seasons where they both continued to remind us of how great they are and why they are regarded as one of the best at what they do on the court.
With no surprise, Russell Westbrook took home the award for best record breaking moment, for his record breaking season in which he became the NBA's leading triple double getter overtaking the great Oscar Robertson with 182.
Finally, the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, an award presented to a team or an athlete who has made the most significant or compelling humanitarian contributions in transcendence of sport in a given year. The award was given to WNBA Legend Maya Moore who decided to put her WNBA career on hold in 2019 to address the need for criminal justice reform. In that time, Moore helped wrongly convicted Jonathon Irons who was accused of burglary and assault when he was 16 and sentenced to 15 years. With her helped his case was overturned and he was released in July 2020 and has since then, married Maya Moore. An incredible story.
Many of the awards won by these basketball stars and icons continues to show how influential the game is on the wider world. The achievements of these athletes on and off the court is what inspires the next generation to do the same, be the best person they can on and off the court.
For more basketball news, culture and highlights from around the world, stay tuned with HOOPER.