Famous Awards: The ESPY

The ESPY, which is short for “Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly,” is given out each year by the cable sports network ESPN in order to recognize, as per the organization’s own words, “excellence in sports performance and achievement.” There are currently around 39 categories for which individuals and teams can be awarded an ESPY, with more added yearly and some retired, discontinued, superseded or suspended. The ESPY is a fairly new award, having started in 1993; because they are held on a major network and hosted by celebrities, however, they quickly picked up speed and are now popular viewing amongst sports aficionados. The ESPYs used to be entirely selected based on voting by fans, but since 2004 have been decided by experts in the field.
Some recent winners of the ESPY award, in some of our favorite categories from June 2015, include:

Best Record-Breaking Performance: Payton Manning
Best International Athlete:
Lionel Messi, Barcelona/Argentina
Best Female Tennis Player: Serena Williams
Best Bowler: Jason Belmonte
Best Male/Female Athletes with Disabilities: Krige Schabort, Triathlon/Becca Meyers, Swimming
ESPY Icon Award: Derek Jeter
Arthur Ashe Courage Award: Caitlin Jenner

About the Award


It may not have as rich of a history as some of the other awards in our blog series, but we still love the ESPY’s unique and easily-recognizable form. This sleek, modern trophy features a perfect steel ball suspended on top of a post reminiscent of that used in monuments; both the ball and post feature the word “ESPY” on opposing sides, while a plaque with the award category and winner’s name is prominently displayed on front. This award was designed by the sculptor Lawrence Nowlan, who is known for his statues of famous athletes and several well-known memorials. Certainly minimalistic but nonetheless striking, we’re sure the ESPY looks great on these athletes’ mantelpieces!
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