As many of you know, the 2009 ESPY’s are coming up on the 19th, so here are my votes for some of the more interesting categories (who are we supposed to pick in the ‘Best Jockey’ and ‘Best Bowler’ categories?).
Nominations: Florida’s Tim Tebow’s speech, Helio Castroneves wins the Indy 500, US Swim Team wins thrilling finish in Olympic relay.
I think this is pretty obvious. ESPN doesn’t hide its strange fascination with Tebow (we get it, he’s a great person) and Castroneves’s win after his legal troubles was quite emotional (for him, anyway) but none of these ‘moments’ come close to the US winning the relay. Not only did the win keep Phelp’s quest for the record alive, but it was one of the most exciting finishes in swimming history. Do not forget that the French team vowed to “crush the Americans” and the British commentators prematurely stated that the Americans could not catch up. Their comments made the .08 second victory that much sweeter. Easily the best moment.
Read on to see more.
Best Record-Breaking Performance
Nominations: Usain Bolt, Larry Fitzgerald, Phil Jackson, Michael Phelps.
Again, there shouldn’t be much question as to who wins this one. Phelp’s dominance at the Olympics is clearly the winner here. His closet competition comes from Usain Bolt, but I was disgusted at his showboating during the 100 meter dash. Not only was it unsportsmanlike, but selfish (so he can break the record again later). Clearly not the best performance for this category.
Best Female Athlete
Nominations: Nate Coughlin, Nastia Lukin, Maya Moore, Candace Parker, Serena Williams.
I’m going to have to side with Serena on this one. The fact that she (and her sister for that matter) can take time off the game to pursue various interests, not play in warm-up tournaments, not practice nearly as much as her competitors and still win Grand Slams is quite impressive.
Best Male Athlete
Nominations: Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Jimmie Johnson (are you serious??), Michael Phelps.
Johnson was added to the list to keep racing fans happy, so we can disregard him immediately (no offense, but let’s be serious here). I voted for Phelps earlier, and even though his overall performance was extraordinary, I just do not feel that his medals automatically make him the best athlete (I think it will for a lot of people). I understand he competed in a variety of events (8, obviously) but I don’t think they were really different enough. This is not meant to minimize his accomplishment at all; it’s just that I don’t think winning 8 events of essentially the same thing (however amazing) merits being labeled the best athlete.
That leaves Kobe and LeBron. This was a tough one. Kobe won the Championship but I don’t think should affect my vote. In the way I interpret the word, athlete, LeBron is better. In the most basic sense, he can run faster, jump higher, and lift more. 6’8’’, 265 lbs. He’s a freak of nature and can do things everyone else can only dream about. Sorry Kobe, but you should be happy enough with your new ring.
Best Male Golfer
Nominations: Padraig Harrington, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods.
The fact that Tiger has been nominated is laughably scary. The man just came back from a year-long layoff and he’s still the number one player on the tour. This is astonishing. Imagine if Roger Federer took one year off the tour. Harrington has been the golfer to step up in Tiger’s absence, winning the British Open and PGA Championships (both in 2008). However, he has missed the cut in the last 5 tournaments he’s entered (including the US Open). On the other hand, Mickelson has once-again failed to fulfill his potential, but this time he’s had unfortunate distractions. Therefore, Tiger gets the vote. Memories of him winning the US Open last year in an 18-hole playoff on one leg spring to mind. If someone asked you who the best golfer was right now, would you disagree?