ESPN unveils ESPY nominations

Giants, in most-watched Super Bowl, among noms

NEW YORK -- This year's ESPY nominees pit the Boston Red Sox against the New York Yankees, the Super Bowl champion New York Giants against New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and the Lakers' Kobe Bryant competing alongside this year's Boston Celtics.

ESPN on Tuesday announced the nominees for the 16th annual ESPYs, which will be televised July 20. There are 37 categories, and the millions of votes -- there were 12.5 million last year -- can be sent in online and this year for the first time via mobile phone.

The Giants were nominated in several categories, all for its upset of the undefeated Patriots that was the most-watched Super Bowl in history. They are nominated for best team, best coach (Tom Coughlin), best play (Eli Manning's 32-yard pass to David Tyree), best upset and, of course, best game.

There's stiff competition in the best-game category, which also includes the Boston Red Sox's sweep of the Colorado Rockies to win its second World Series in four years; the Boston Celtics' recent championship against the Lakers in the NBA Finals; Kansas men's basketball and Tennessee women's basketball, which won the NCAA championships; and the Detroit Red Wings that recently won the Stanley Cup.

Nominated for best moment is Jon Lester's May 19, 2008, no-hitter that took place a year after he returned to the Red Sox from cancer treatment; Danica Patrick's win of the Indy Japan 300; and the Central Washington University's sportsmanship when members of the team carried Western Oregon University's Sara Tucolsky around the bases after she collapsed in a playoff game. Best game nominees other than the Giants are the Celtics' come-from-behind victory against the Lakers plus the Kansas-Memphis OT game.

Tiger Woods, who will have to sit the rest of the season after an injury in the US Open, received nominations for best male athlete and best championship performance after he continued to play the US Open even with a double stress fracture to his left knee. The Lakers' Kobe Bryant received nominations for best male athlete and best NBA player. The Patriots received individual nominations in best male athlete for Tom Brady, who also goes up against Manning in the category of best NFL player along with Randy Moss.

While most sports happen on TV, the ESPYs do crown the year's best sports movie. This year there are four nominees: dramas "Resurrecting the Champ," starring Samuel L. Jackson and Josh Hartnett and "The Game Plan," starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, plus comedies "Semi Pro" starring Will Ferrell and Woody Harrelson and George Clooney's "Leatherheads," which stars Clooney and Renee Zellweger.

Three special awards were announced Tuesday. 1968 Olympic medalists John Carlos and Tommie Smith will receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, for their fist-raising performance while receiving medals at the Mexico City Olympics. Former Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everett will receive the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance after walking again after a serious spinal cord injury. And Texas Rangers player Josh Hamilton will receive the comeback award for his 2008 season.
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