Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry to host ESPYS and lift consciousness for incarcerated WNBA star Brittney Griner

The Golden State Warriors had been entrance and middle at Wednesday evening’s ESPYS, with host Stephen Curry taking dwelling a number of awards and calling consideration to the plight of WNBA star Brittney Griner, who’s being held in Russia.

Curry, who gained the ESPYS for Finest NBA Participant and Finest Report-Breaking Efficiency, joined WNBA gamers Nneka Ogwumike and Skylar Diggins-Smith to speak about Griner’s standing through the present. The US believes that Griner has been unjustly detained.

“It has now been 153 nights that BG has been illegally detained hundreds of miles from dwelling, away from his household, his associates, his group,” Diggins-Smith mentioned on the Dolby Theater in Hollywood. We saved him in our ideas and hearts at the moment, although we all know it will not be sufficient to deliver him dwelling.

Carrying Griner’s Phoenix Mercury jersey beneath his tracksuit, Curry famous the efforts to free Griner.

“However we hope for one of the best, we ask your complete world sports activities neighborhood to maintain up the power on his behalf,” he mentioned. “He’s one in all us, a group of athletes right here tonight and around the globe. A group that has nothing to do with politics or world conflicts.”

They had been applauded by Griner’s spouse, Cherelle Griner, who was within the viewers.

US soccer star Megan Rapinoe additionally identified Griner whereas accepting the ESPYS award for greatest sport.

“I actually suppose what we witnessed tonight is the significance of sports activities and the way a lot we are able to deliver and the way a lot we are able to do on the earth with our collective energy,” Rapinoe mentioned. “Each time we are saying his title, it places stress on everyone — places stress on the administration, places stress on Russia. Probably the most putting factor is that BG just isn’t right here. BG deserves to be free. … We will help him extra and let him know that we love him a lot.”

Along with Curry’s two awards, his teammate Klay Thompson obtained one of the best comeback award. Thompson made a triumphant return to motion on Jan. 9 after spending greater than two years sidelined with career-altering accidents.

“It is simply an unimaginable honor,” Thompson mentioned.

The Warriors additionally took dwelling the Finest Group award.

This was the twenty ninth yr of the ESPYS, an occasion that helps increase consciousness and funds for the V Most cancers Analysis Basis. This charity was based by ESPN and the late basketball coach Jim Valvano on the first ESPYS in 1993.

Jimmy V Award for Perseverance

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Watch Dick Vitale’s full speech after accepting the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance on the 2022 ESPYS.

Iconic ESPN broadcaster Dick Vitale, 83, obtained this yr’s award.

Final August, he introduced that he had undergone a number of surgical procedures to take away melanoma. In October, he introduced that he had been identified with lymphoma. Chemotherapy for his lymphoma pressured Vitale to retire from ESPN’s school basketball protection.

Vitale introduced in April that he’s cancer-free.

“I am sitting right here telling you, clearly, it has been a troublesome eight months,” mentioned Vitale, who thanked his spouse, Lorraine, and his household. “If you understand somebody battling most cancers, ship a message, ship prayers. These messages hit me at my darkest second. I hear Jimmy [Valvano] phrases in my head: ‘Do not hand over, do not hand over.’ … We is not going to cease chasing the dream. Jimmy’s dream was to beat most cancers and we have now to do it.”

Finest Athlete, Girls’s Sports activities

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Katie Ledecky sends an inspiring message to younger athletes in her speech for Finest Feminine Sports activities on the ESPYS.

Swimming star Katie Ledecky took dwelling the award, beating gymnast Sunisa Lee, Chicago Sky star Candace Parker and cross-country skier, bicycle owner and biathlete Oksana Masters.

On the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, Ledecky gained two golds to extend his profession particular person gold medal tally to 6. On the FINA World Championships this summer season, she gained 4 golds to turn into essentially the most adorned feminine swimmer with 22 profession world medals.

Accepting the award, Ledecky requested the younger athletes to “discover one thing that you simply actually love, that you simply’re good at, that may be a constructive drive in our world, one thing that may encourage another person, one thing that may assist another person, one thing that may change our the world.” He added: “I believe there are such a lot of heroes, not solely in sports activities however throughout us – look to those individuals as function fashions and go for the gold.”

Finest athlete, males’s sport

Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani gained the award within the class, forward of Curry, Inexperienced Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid.

Ohtani additionally gained the MLB Participant of the Yr award forward of Bryce Harper (Philadelphia Phillies), Aaron Decide (New York Yankees) and Jorge Soler (Atlanta Braves).

Ohtani gained the unanimous American League MVP award final fall with 46 dwelling runs and 23 begins for the Angels.

Arthur Ashe Award for Braveness

Corridor of Fame boxer and Kyiv mayor Vitaly Klitschko was acknowledged with the award.

Mayor of the Ukrainian capital since 2014, the previous heavyweight champion is a longtime outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, Vitali has been one of many faces of the resistance, alongside together with his youthful brother and fellow Corridor of Famer Vladimir. The Klitschkos took up arms within the Territorial Protection Battalion in Kyiv; star boxers Vasiliy Lomachenko and Oleksandr Usyk adopted go well with in different components of Ukraine.

Finest Breakthrough Athlete

Eileen Gu, one of many stars of the 2022 Winter Olympics, obtained an ESPY award. The standout California-born freestyle skier who represented China on the Video games gained two gold medals (huge air, halfpipe) and one silver (slopestyle) whereas competing in his mom’s hometown of Beijing.

Juggling a grueling schedule and large expectations, the 18-year-old Gu would turn into the primary freestyle skier to win medals in three occasions at one Olympics.

“That is insanity!” exclaimed a stunned Gu after his victory. In her speech, Gu thanked her mom — who “exhibits me what it means to be a powerful and empowered lady” — and grandmother, in addition to the “many trailblazing feminine athletes” who got here earlier than her, lots of whom had been in the identical room.

Gu additionally gave a shout out to the “women who’re coming after me” who’re pushing the game of freestyle snowboarding ahead.

Finest Championship Efficiency

Los Angeles Rams star extensive receiver and Tremendous Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp gained an ESPY for doing precisely what he had been doing all season: delivering when it mattered most. He caught the game-winning one-yard cross from quarterback Matthew Stafford with 1:25 left to provide the Rams their second Tremendous Bowl championship and the primary in Los Angeles since 1951.

Kupp, who additionally gained the NFL Triple Crown, had eight catches for 92 yards and two scores in opposition to the Bengals. His MVP effort got here on the Rams’ personal SoFi Stadium.

Kupp thanked his spouse Anna and their two sons, who’re staying with their grandparents and whom Kupp promised “further dessert” tonight. He known as the ESPYs “a group award” and praised Rams defensive lineman and three-time Defensive Participant of the Yr Aaron Donald, who was additionally in attendance.

“Simply to be on this room with so many people who find themselves enjoying on the prime of their career, it is actually an honor,” Kupp mentioned as he concluded his speech.

Different winners had been introduced:

Pat Tillman Award for Service: Gretchen Evans

Muhammad Ali Sports activities Humanitarian Award: Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals

Billie Jean King Youth Chief Award: Noor Abukaram, Kendall Dudley, Sydney Moore, Alicia Serratos, Lucy Westlake

Finest NWSL Participant: Ashley Hatch, Spirit of Washington

Finest MLS Participant: Carlos Vela, LAFC

Finest Athlete with a Incapacity, Males’s Sports activities: Brad Snyder, Paratriathlon

Finest Athlete with a Incapacity, Girls’s Sports activities: Jessica Lengthy, Swimming

Finest Athlete, Males’s Motion Sports activities: Eli Tomac, Supercross

Finest Athlete, Girls’s Motion Sports activities: Eileen Gu, Snowboarding

Finest School Athlete, Males’s Sports activities: Bryce Younger, Alabama soccer

Finest School Athlete, Girls’s Sports activities: Jocelyn Alo, Oklahoma softball

Finest Worldwide Athlete, Males’s Soccer: Kylian Mbappe, PSG

Finest Worldwide Athlete, Girls’s Soccer: Sam Kerr, Chelsea

Finest MLB Participant: Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels

Finest MMA Fighter: Charles Oliveira

Finest NBA Participant: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

Finest NFL Participant: Aaron Rodgers, Inexperienced Bay Packers

Finest WNBA Participant: Candace Parker, Chicago Sky

Finest NHL Participant: Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers

Finest Athlete, Males’s Golf: Justin Thomas

Finest Athlete, Girls’s Golf: Nelly Repeat

Finest Athlete, Males’s Tennis: Rafael Nadal

Finest Athlete, Girls’s Tennis: Emma Raducanu

Finest Bowler: Kyle’s troupe

Finest Boxer: Tyson Fury

Finest Driver: Kyle Larson, NASCAR

Finest Recreation: The Kansas Metropolis Chiefs beat the Buffalo Payments in OT

Finest Jockey: Jose Ortiz

Finest Males’s Olympian: Caeleb Dressel, swimming

The most effective Olympic champion in ladies’s sports activities: Katie Ledecky, Swimming

Finest WWE Second: Cody Rhodes returns to WWE at WrestleMania

The Related Press contributed to this report.

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