As usual, major buzz about the "Oscars" of major athletic talent began in June when voting opened up online for all nominee categories at espn.com/espys. (See nominees below).
WWE champ John Cena was
for the 2016 ESPYs.
Ballots are cast right up until awards night-- as millions of fans join in to pick their favorite athletes, sports teams, and the year's outstanding performances.
This year's "Oscars of Sports" aired live on ABC at 8PM ET on Wednesday, July 13, 2016.
Notable 2016 Espy nominees included Serena Williams who competed (and won!) her 8th Best Female Tennis Player award, while in the Best Male Athlete category, former nominees Stephen Curry and LeBron James were joined by two newcomers to the category, Cam Newton and Bryce Harper.
For Best NFL player, Cam Newton was paired against New England QB Tom Brady, Houston defensive end JJ Watt, Pittsburgh receiver Antonio Brown and Julio Jones of the Falcons.
Presenters on the big night included Chris Berman, Stephen Curry, Skylar Diggins, Lisa Leslie, David Oyelowo, Usher Raymond IV, Lindsey Vonn, Dwyane Wade and JJ Watt.
And, for the first time ever, THREE athletes were honored with the Icon Award. They included Kobe Bryant, Peyton Manning and Abby Wambach who were presented with the prestigious award by Justin Timberlake.
The Arthur Ashe award was presented to the family of 15-year-old Zaevion Dobson, who heroically gave his life while shielding two young females from gunfire during a shooting in Knoxville, Tn.
Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar also give a special tribute in honor of the late boxing champion Muhammad Ali.
Just up ahead, learn more about the annual Espy Awards along with a complete list of winners at the 2016 Espys.
2016 ESPY Award Nominees & * WInners
BEST MALE ATHLETE * LeBron James
BEST FEMALE ATHLETE * Breanna Stewart
Elena Delle Donne
BEST CHAMPIONSHIP PERFORMANCE * LeBron James, NBA Finals
Von Miller, Super Bowl
Carli Lloyd, World Cup Final
Sidney Crosby, Stanley Cup Playoffs
BEST BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE * Jake Arrieta
BEST RECORD-BREAKING PERFORMANCE * Stephen Curry single season three-pointers made
Geno Auriemma most NCAA basketball titles in D1 history (11)
Christian McCaffery single season NCAAF all-purpose yards
BEST UPSET * Holly Holm knocks out Ronda Rousey, UFC
Middle Tennessee over Michigan State, Men's NCAA Basketball Tournament
Roberta Vinci over Serena Williams, US Open
BEST GAME * Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA Finals Game 7
Villanova vs. North Carolina, Men's NCAA Basketball Final
Arizona Cardinals vs. Green Bay Packers, NFL Divisional Round
BEST MOMENT (NOT TO BE VOTED ON)
Cleveland wins first title in over 50 years BEST COMEBACK ATHLETE (NOT TO BE VOTED ON)
BEST PLAY (16 NOMINEES VOTED BRACKET-STYLE) * Aaron Rodgers Hail Mary vs. 16. Crazy 66-yard Ole Miss' TD
Kris Jenkins buzzer beater vs. 15. Connor McDavid goal
Michigan St punt block TD vs. 14. Stanford trick play w/ circus catch
LeBron Game 7 block vs. 13. Louis Oosthuizen hole-in-one off of ball
Steph Curry 38-foot game-winner vs. 12. Army softball player leaps over tag
Holly Holm knockout of Ronda Rousey vs. 11. Bartolo Colon first home run
Tiffany Howard HR robbery WCWS vs. 10. Josh Donaldson diving into stands
Jairo Samerio scores on scissor-kick ground vs. 9. Dele Alli juggling goal for Tottenham BEST TEAM * Cleveland Cavaliers
Kansas City Royals
Alabama Crimson Tide
BEST COACH/MANAGER * Tyronn Lue, Cleveland Cavaliers
Ned Yost, Kansas City Royals
Geno Auriemma, UConn Huskies
Jay Wright, Villanova Wildcats
Nick Saban, Alabama Crimson Tide
BEST INTERNATIONAL ATHLETE * Cristiano Ronaldo
BEST NFL PLAYER * Cam Newton
BEST MLB PLAYER * Bryce Harper
BEST NHL PLAYER * Sidney Crosby
BEST DRIVER * Kyle Busch
BEST NBA PLAYER * LeBron James
Russell Westbrook BEST WNBA PLAYER * Maya Moore
Elena Delle Donne
BEST FIGHTER * Conor McGregor
BEST MALE GOLFER * Jordan Spieth
BEST FEMALE GOLFER * Lydia Ko
BEST MALE TENNIS PLAYER * Novak Djokovic
BEST FEMALE TENNIS PLAYER * Serena Williams
BEST MALE COLLEGE ATHLETE * Buddy Hield
BEST FEMALE COLLEGE ATHLETE * Breanna Stewart
BEST MALE ACTION SPORTS ATHLETE * Ryan Dungey
BEST FEMALE ACTION SPORTS ATHLETE * Jamie Anderson
BEST JOCKEY * Mario Gutierrez
Irad Ortiz Jr.
BEST MALE ATHLETE WITH A DISABILITY * Richard Browne
BEST FEMALE ATHLETE WITH A DISABILITY * Tatyana McFadden
BEST BOWLER * Jason Belmonte
BEST MLS PLAYER * Sebastian Giovinco
All about the Espys
Begun by cable sports channel ESPN in 1993, the annual ESPY Awards allows sports fans worldwide to join in an online vote for their favorites in such categories as Best Male Athlete, Best Female Athlete,Best Coach/Manager, and Team of the Year.
Unlike most awards shows, the ESPYs are probably most noted for
its contribution to charity, as a portion of the proceeds is donated to The
V Foundation, named for its founder, Jim Valvano.
The Arthur Ashe Courage Award is another ESPY highlight, honoring
an individual for their personal courage or charitable works outside the sports arena, with past winners including such trailblazers
as Muhammad Ali and tennis star Billie Jean King.
Around the Web, find out more about the awards ceremony with top sites featuring video highlights, photos and fun facts:
Espy Awards around the Web:
2016 ESPYS - The official site featuring the complete list of this year's nominees, online voting, an archive of video highlights
and past winners.
ESPY Awards - Wikipedia entry with details on the awards' history, memorable moments, and lists of show hosts & major winners
dating back to 1993.