LOS ANGELES (AP) —
Kevin Durant won two ESPY Awards, including male athlete of the year,
and mixed martial arts star Ronda Rousey earned female athlete honors,
becoming the first UFC fighter to claim a trophy in the biggest category
at the show honoring the year's best performances Wednesday night.
Durant also won best NBA player, ending LeBron James' two-year reign in both categories.
helped me out along the way," the Oklahoma City Thunder star said. "My
beautiful mom watching at home who couldn't be here. My favorite
teammate, Russell Westbrook."
Durant beat out fellow male athlete
nominees Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers, Peyton Manning of the
Denver Broncos and boxer Floyd Mayweather during the show hosted by
rapper Drake at the Nokia Theatre.
Rousey, the first female UFC
champion, won over WNBA star Maya Moore, Olympic champion skier Mikaela
Shiffrin and Brenna Stewart of national champion Connecticut.
The winners in most categories were determined by fan voting.
Rousey didn't attend, with presenter Chrissy Teigen saying the fighter had surgery a day earlier.
didn't go home empty-handed. He collected two trophies: best NFL player
and record-breaking performance. Manning won his fifth MVP award last
season, when he set single-season records by passing for 55 touchdowns
and more than 5,500 yards.
The Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks won best team. Their All-Pro cornerback, Richard Sherman, won breakthrough athlete.
best game was the Iron Bowl matchup between No. 1 Alabama and No. 4
Auburn, with the Tigers winning 34-28 on the final play to spoil the
Tide's BCS hopes.
Led by goalie Tim Howard, the U.S. men's soccer team won best moment for its run to the round of 16 in the World Cup.
Soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal won best international athlete.
zinged Howard and Sherman in his opening monologue. The rapper joked
about banned Clippers owner Donald Sterling, saying, "We're a few
hundred yards from Staples Center, which is as close as Donald Sterling
is allowed to get."
Clippers star Blake Griffin laughed until the
camera caught him and he acted serious, drawing laughs. Griffin and
Drake teamed up for a funny pre-taped bit in which they pretended to be
each other while spewing insults, with rapper Chris Brown joining in.
Brown, who has been in and out of jail, jokingly introduced himself as
James wasn't on hand, but Drake noted the
superstar's recent decision to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers after
winning two NBA titles in Miami.
"You know what 40 million gets
you in Miami? A really nice house," Drake said. "You know what 40
million gets you in Cleveland? Cleveland, you get the whole thing."
mixed in song, too. He crooned "Honorable Mention," a tune he said was
dedicated to the runner-ups, including Triple Crown loser California
Chrome and NASCAR driver Danica Patrick.
Lil' Wayne cracked up as
Drake sang "Side Pieces," full of references to the on-the-road cheating
that goes on in sports. Drake noted a lot of men in the audience wanted
the song to be over.
Drake revisited Sterling with a rap
accompanied by video of the Clippers owner saying he isn't a racist. The
screen displayed the hashtag of Sterlingneverlovedus.
Drake teamed up with WNBA star Skylar Diggins for a sketch. She went in
to kiss Drake, who has acknowledged his affection for her, but the
smooch landed on his forehead and not his lips.
Gregg Popovich won
best coach-manager for guiding the San Antonio Spurs to the NBA
championship. Spurs player Kawhi Leonard earned the championship
performance award to go with his MVP award from the NBA Finals.
won best comeback athlete, having overcome his latest knee surgery to
help the Thunder reach the Western Conference finals.
Stewart won best female college athlete, while Creighton basketball star Doug McDermott won male college athlete.
snowboarders Jamie Anderson and Sage Kotsenburg won best female and
male Olympian. Kotsenburg won the first gold medal of the Sochi Games in
men's snowboard slopestyle.
The Arthur Ashe Courage award went to
St. Louis Rams draftee Michael Sam, who announced earlier this year
that he is gay. The former Missouri defensive end will be trying to make
the Rams' roster when training camp opens. If he does, Sam would be the
NFL's first openly gay player.
Sam teared up throughout his speech and his voice faltered at times.
"Great things can happen when you have the courage to be yourself," he told the audience.
Hall of Famer Jim Brown hugged Sam on his way to the stage.
The Ashe award is named for the late tennis player who died in 1993 after contracting AIDS from a blood transfusion.
Jimmy V Award for Perseverance was given to ESPN "SportsCenter" anchor
Stuart Scott, who is fighting a recurrence of cancer first diagnosed
seven years ago.
The Pat Tillman Award for Service was given for
the first time to Josh Sweeney, a retired Marine who lost both his legs
after an explosion in Afghanistan. He scored the lone goal for the U.S.
sled hockey team that beat the Russians for gold earlier this year at
the Paralympics in Sochi.