11:40 p.m.: Woah! In the shocker of the night, the ESPY for Best Team goes to — nah, just kidding.
Everyone’s favorite NBA team, the Miami Heat, will be taking home the night’s final award. I said at the beginning of the night that you would see a lot of LeBron James and his red suit up on stage, and The Chosen One did not disappoint.
That’ll do it for tonight’s festivities. The sports world is off again tomorrow, but we’ll be back to baseball on Friday. Thanks for joining me, everyone.
11:34 p.m.: Great job, America. Jadeveon Clowney is your Best Play winner.
The South Carolina defensive end’s monster stick on Michigan’s Vincent Smith was truly a transcendent hit — one that will still be in heavy rotation on highlight shows long after Clowney takes his otherworldly defensive talents to the NFL.
The ESPY for Best Team, presented by the one and only Diddy, will bring this night to a close.
11:26 p.m.: We’re closing in on the end of the night now, with just two awards left to give out.
Yasiel Puig and Gabby Douglas — both nominees themselves earlier in the night — will present the ESPY for Best Play, and I believe I speak for all of America when I say that it will be a travesty if Jadeveon Clowney does not take home this trophy.
11:12 p.m.: After a moving tribute to Jim Valvano, during which Jimmy V’s iconic speech was read by a number of athletes and sports personalities, Stuart Scott introduces Ben Affleck, who will present the Jimmy V Perseverance Award to Massachusetts’ own Dick and Rick Hoyt.
11:05 p.m.: And LeBron it is. The Miami Heat star takes home the ESPY for Best Male Athlete, beating out Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Peterson and Michael Phelps.
10:55 p.m.: Dunk City!
Florida Gulf Coast’s electrifying NCAA tournament win over Georgetown earns the Eagles the ESPY for Best Upset. They’re certainly worthy recipients, but head coach Andy Enfield accepting the award is a bit awkward.
Enfield, of course, bailed on FGCU to take the head coaching position at USC just days after the tournament concluded.
It’s now time to present the ESPY for Best Male Athlete. Miguel Cabrera gets my vote, but my gut says this one’s going to LeBron.
10:48 p.m.: In a move nobody will argue with, Jack Hoffman is awarded the ESPY for Best Moment.
Jack, a 7-year-old Cornhuskers fan suffering from brain cancer, caught the eye of the nation in April, when he entered as a running back during Nebraska’s spring game and sprinted for a 69-yard touchdown.
He continues to fight the disease, but the Hoffman family announced at the College World Series last month that Jack had undergone his final chemotherapy treatment.
Bill Hader (sans Putin costume) and Lake Bell will now present the award for Best Upset.
10:44 p.m.: Bill Hader appears as Vladimir Putin. It’s not very funny.
10:32 p.m.: We have our first no-show of the night, as Serena Williams wins the award for Best Female Athlete but is not in the house to claim it.
If you’re keeping score at home, I am now 2-for-2 with my ESPY picks. No big deal.
10:26 p.m.: It’s Kenneth!
Jack McBrayer basically recreates his 30 Rock character on stage, imitating the legendary ineptitude of the NFL’s replacement referees. The jokes are decent, but they seem a little stale, considering this whole controversy is about 10 months old.
Paula Patton and Jason Sudeikis (who is rocking one heck of a moustache), will now present the nominees for Best Female Athlete.
10:14 p.m.: Twenty years after Jim Valvano delivered his iconic speech upon being presented with this same award, Robin Roberts delivers a moving acceptance speech of her own, thanking all those who helped make her road to recovery possible.
10:06 p.m.: The annual Arthur Ashe Award for Courage was presented by LeBron James and First Lady Michelle Obama to an incredibly deserving recipient: Robin Roberts.
The former SportsCenter anchor and current Good Morning America host fought and beat myelodysplastic syndrome (a rare blood disease) in 2012, just five years after doing the same with breast cancer.
Though her recovery was an incredibly arduous and painful journey, and included undergoing a bone marrow transplant, Roberts shared nearly every step of the process with viewers, raising awareness and funds along the way.
9:49 p.m.: Michael Phelps is your winner.
You may forget, as the Summer Olympics took place literally a year ago, but Phelps was dominant again at the London Games. He took home four gold medals and two silvers in the pool, bringing his record-setting career medal total to 18.
9:47 p.m.: We’re humming right along. It’s time to present the ESPY for Best Record-Breaking Performance.
9:40 p.m.: No love for the B’s in this one, as Heat-Spurs Game 6 takes home the ESPY for Best Game. No real surprise there.
Ray Allen’s game-tying 3-pointer from that game is also nominated tonight for Best Play, so we may see the former Celtic back on stage before the night is over.
9:35 p.m.: Saturday Night Live’s Jay Pharoah busts out his best Jay-Z impression, and it’s pretty spot-on. I don’t think he can ever recreate the magic that was his Stephen A. Smith impersonation, though. If you haven’t seen it, click this link. You won’t be sorry.
Russell Wilson and Chrissy Teigen now take the stage to present the ESPY for Best Game.
9:30 p.m.: Manning was the comeback player of the year in the NFL this season, but it’s Peterson who takes home the ESPY.
When your ACL rehab goes so incredibly that it becomes the new standard by which all athletes (cough, Derrick Rose) are judged, I guess you deserve this award. Oh, and that whole “coming within nine yards of the all-time rushing record” part didn’t hurt, either.
9:27 p.m.: We have a Kevin Bacon sighting. He and Maria Sharapova will present the award for Best Comeback. Expect this one to come down to Peyton Manning vs. Adrian Peterson.
9:20 p.m.: And the award goes to … Colin Kaepernick.
The Niners quarterback beat out a stacked field that included Russell Wilson, Johnny Manziel, Yasiel Puig and Mike Trout to take home the ESPY for Best Breakthrough Athlete.
Though he left the Dolphins hat at home, Kaep was an active participant in what Hamm called “the world’s largest gathering of people wearing sunglasses inside” (or something along those lines).
9:15 p.m.: Dwight Howard, Ryan Lochte and LeBron James’ hairline. All worthy punching bags during Jon Hamm’s opening monologue.
Now, Victor Cruz and Selena Gomez (a bit of a random duo) are on to present the award for Best Breakthrough Athlete.
9:05 p.m.: After a nice highlight montage, which included scenes from both the Red Sox’ and Bruins’ emotional post-marathon games, we’re ready to get this thing started.
Everyone, say hello to Don Draper — err, Jon Hamm.
8:47 p.m.: As we close in on showtime, let me just say that Colin Kaepernick won the red carpet (though Snoop Lion’s entrance in a motorcycle-drawn carriage was a close second). We’ll be underway in just about 10 minutes.
8 p.m.: OK, it’s now time for the Official Zack Cox ESPY Picks. Try to contain your excitement.
There are 30 awards in total up for grabs, but I’ll limit my predictions to some of the more prominent ones. Here we go:
Best Male Athlete
Nominees: Miguel Cabrera, LeBron James, Adrian Peterson, Michael Phelps
Who should win: Cabrera. The Tigers slugger took home the first Triple Crown in 45 years last season, and he’s already blowing his 2012 stats out of the water through 93 games this year. That’s enough to get my vote.
Who will win: James. LeBron + championship + ESPN = landslide.
Best Female Athlete
Nominees: Gabby Douglas, Missy Franklin, Brittney Griner, Serena Williams
Who should win: This is a tough one. Griner was by far the most dominant player in her sport, but that loss to Louisville in the Sweet 16 (which was nominated for Best Upset) hurts her stock a bit. That was also the case with Williams, who was upset at Wimbledon earlier this month, but her year-long stretch of dominance (World No. 1, 46-3 singles record, six singles titles already in 2013) gives her my vote.
Who will win: Again, a toss-up. I’ll go with Serena.
Nominees: U.S. Women’s Gymnastics, San Francisco Giants, Alabama football, Baltimore Ravens, Miami Heat, Chicago Blackhawks, Oklahoma softball
Who should win: Roll Tide. Alabama may not have finished with a perfect record (Johnny Manziel’s Aggies made sure of that), but their dismantling of Notre Dame in the BCS title game was one of the most dominating championship performances in years.
Who will win: Heat. Expect to see LeBron James on stage a lot tonight.
Nominees: Bruins-Maple Leafs Game 7, Heat-Spurs Game 6, Ravens-Broncos divisional playoff
Who should win: Call me biased, but B’s-Leafs was one of the greatest hockey games I’ve ever seen. Game 7, absurd comeback, overtime — it had it all. Unfortunately, it barely moved the needle in Bristol, so…
Who will win: Heat-Spurs. LeBron logic applies here, too.
Nominees: Jadeveon Clowney’s hit, DeAndre Jordan’s dunk, Ray Allen’s 3-pointer, Khalil Edney’s buzzer-beater
Who should win: Since these six pool dunking bros aren’t nominated, it has to be Clowney. His hit on Michigan’s Vincent Smith in the Outback Bowl more than six months ago is still mesmerizing to this day. Edney’s high school buzzer-beater would be a worthy champion, too.
Who will win: Clowney. Book it.
Agree? Disagree? Think I’m crazy? Tweet me at @ZackCoxNESN with your predictions.
7 p.m.: Boston sports didn’t get a ton of love among this year’s crop of nominees (with only Bruins-Maple Leafs Game 7 for Best Game and Needham native Aly Raisman for best female Olympic athlete receiving nominations), but the recipients of the night’s marquee award are Massachusetts icons.
The Jimmy V Perseverance Award will be presented tonight to Dick and Rick Hoyt, the father and son duo that together has completed six Ironman triathlons, a cross-country bike ride and 30 Boston Marathons, among countless other endurance races.
That resume itself is a stunning feat of athleticism, but it is made even more incredible by the fact the Rick, 51, suffers from cerebral palsy and is pushed in a wheelchair during each race by his 73-year-old father.
ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan recently published an excellent account of the Hoyts’ racing career, which began in 1977 and continues to this day. Though this past Boston Marathon — their 31st — was supposed to be their final, the bombings prevented the Hoyts from completing the race. They plan to compete again next April to honor of the victims.
11 a.m. ET: Some would call Wednesday, July 17, the worst day on the sporting calendar.
The NBA and NHL are deep into their respective offseasons, NFL teams have yet to reconvene for training camp and Major League Baseball is enjoying the All-Star break, leaving sports fans’ plates rather empty on this random summer weeknight.
Luckily, the sporting landscape will not be completely barren, as the biggest stars in each of those sports will gather together at the Nokia Theater in downtown Los Angeles for the 21st annual ESPY Awards.
This year’s nominees — as always — represent a “who’s who” of America’s prominent athletes, ranging from established veterans like LeBron James and Adrian Peterson to Colin Kaepernick, Johnny Manziel and other newcomers to the national scene.
Jon Hamm of Mad Men fame will be handling the emcee duties from L.A., and I’ll be taking you through all the festivities right here. Stay tuned — it all gets started at 9 p.m. ET.
(If you need a refresher leading up to showtime, you can view all the nominees by clicking here.)