It might not taste as sweet as the NBA championship he won with the Miami Heat, but LeBron James can add the ESPY for Best NBA Player to his 2012 hardware. James, who led all athletes with the most ESPY nominations, was in the conversation for Best Male Athlete, Best Championship Performance, and Best NBA Player.
James is just two years removed from being mercilessly mocked at the 2010 ESPY Awards show that followed his infamous Decision, but was widely expected to dominate this year. He's a regularly a hot topic on ESPN's SportsCenter as well as their talking heads shows. That combined with his playoff domination and redemption in the finals made it all but inevitable that he'd be taking home at least another trophy or two Wednesday night.
For Best Male Athlete, James went up against tennis star Novak Djokovic, Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers and Justin Verlander of the MLB. In the Best Championship Performance category he faced World Series MVP David Freese, Eli Manning, NASCAR's Tony Stewart, and the NHL's Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Quick. His competition for Best NBA Player were Kobe Bryant, Kevin Love, Tony Parker, Rajon Rondo, and Kevin Durant, who James bested in the NBA Championship series just last month.
This postseason James boasted a 42.7 MPG, a .500 FG%, and a .739 FT% in the 23 games he played en route to Miami's championship.
Other notable winners on the night were Jeremy Lin for Breakthrough Athlete, Drew Brees for Record-Breaking Performance of the Year, and Brittney Griner's wins for both Female Athlete of the Year and Best Female College Athlete.
This year is the twentieth anniversary of the annual ESPN award show, hosted by comedian Rob Riggle. Last year's ESPY award winners included Dirk Nowitzki, Tim Thomas, Blake Griffin, Lindsey Vonn, Rory McIlroy, Jimmer Fredette, Maya Moore and Roy Halladay.