Father and son celebrating on the couch while watching the ESPY Awards

The 2023 ESPY Awards take place Wednesday, July 12, 2023, in California. The 31st annual star-studded night honors the top athletes from college to professional levels.

What are the ESPY Awards?

Established in 1993, the Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly (ESPY) Awards is an annual event honoring the top athletes and sports performances of the year. The ESPYs recognize athletes and other sports figures for their exceptional talent and accomplishments, sports advocacy, social justice, and more.

The awards are presented in a one-of-a-kind celebration, bringing all-star athletes and celebrities together on the red carpet. Also known as “the Oscars for athletes,” the ceremony highlights achievements and raises awareness for important causes, such as the V Foundation.

The ESPYs Connection With Jimmy V

Coach Jim Valvano (Jimmy V) was battling cancer when he made his awe-inspiring acceptance speech for the Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award at the inaugural ESPY Awards in 1993. Now, the ESPY Awards show is known for highlighting the true spirit of courage and strength within the world of athletics. In 2007, the ESPYs honored Coach V’s legacy with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance to recognize a sports figure who has overcome significant challenges while continuing to inspire others.

The Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award and the Pat Tillman Award for Service are other honorary ESPY awards.

How to Watch the 2023 ESPY Awards

Grab a front-row seat in front of your TV and enjoy all the exciting action on one of most celebrated nights in sports. ABC will air the ESPY Awards ceremony in its entirety on Wednesday, July 12, from 8:00-11:00 PM ET.

If you don’t have a cable provider, you can access ABC on streaming services, like DirectTV Stream, Fubo, Hulu + Live TV, and YouTube TV. Check your streaming services for availability in your area.

ESPY Award Categories & Nominees

Each year awards are presented for athletic achievements, humanitarianism, and more. Golfing legend Tiger Woods is the record holder for most ESPY Award wins with 21. Below is a look at the full list of this year’s athletic award nominees and the winner:

Best Athlete, Men’s Sports

  • Nikola Jokić, Denver Nuggets
  • Aaron Judge, New York Yankees
  • Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs – Winner
  • Lionel Messi, Argentina

Best Athlete, Women’s Sports

  • Mikaela Shiffrin, Skiing – Winner
  • Sophia Smith, Portland Thorns
  • Iga Świątek, Tennis
  • A’ja Wilson, Las Vegas Aces

Best Breakthrough Athlete

  • Caitlin Clark, Iowa NCAA Women’s Basketball
  • Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers
  • Angel Reese, LSU NCAA Women’s Basketball – Winner
  • Julio Rodríguez, Seattle Mariners

Best Record-Breaking Performance

  • Novak Djokovic wins his 23rd Grand Slam title, breaking a tie with Rafael Nadal for the most major singles trophies in the history of men’s tennis.
  • LeBron James surpasses Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the NBA career scoring record. – Winner
  • Mikaela Shiffrin breaks the record for the most World Cup skiing victories with her 87th win.
  • Max Verstappen wins the Mexican Grand Prix, breaking the record for most wins in a season with 14.

Best Championship Performance

  • Leon Edwards defeats Kamaru Usman by 5th-round KO to win the UFC welterweight title. This was Usman’s first UFC loss.
  • Nikola Jokić of the Denver Nuggets wins 2023 NBA Finals MVP.
  • Lionel Messi leads Argentina to a 2022 World Cup Final victory, scoring two goals in regulation and another in the penalty shootout. Messi won Man of the Match and the Golden Ball as FIFA’s best player of the tournament. – Winner
  • Rose Zhang defeats Jennifer Kupcho in a two-hole sudden-death playoff at the Mizuho Americas Open, becoming the first woman in 72 years to win her first professional golf tournament.

Best Comeback Athlete

  • Jon Jones, UFC
  • Jamal Murray, Denver Nuggets – Winner
  • Alyssa Thomas, Connecticut Sun
  • Justin Verlander, New York Mets / Houston Astros

Best Play

  • Michael Block makes a hole-in-one at the 2023 PGA Championship.
  • Justin Jefferson of the Minnesota Vikings makes the Catch of the Century against the Buffalo Bills. – Winner
  • UCLA freshman Ally Lemos hits a perfect corner kick that leads to the equalizing goal in the NCAA National Championship match.
  • Trinity Thomas scores a perfect 10 on the vault, tying the all-time NCAA gymnastics record of 28 perfect scores.

Best Team

  • Denver Nuggets, NBA
  • Georgia Bulldogs, NCAA Football
  • Kansas City Chiefs, NFL – Winner
  • Las Vegas Aces, WNBA
  • Louisiana State University Tigers, NCAA Women’s Basketball
  • Oklahoma Sooners, NCAA Softball
  • Vegas Golden Knights, NHL

Best College Athlete, Men’s Sports

  • Zach Edey, Purdue Men’s Basketball
  • Duncan McGuire, Creighton Soccer
  • Brennan O’Neill, Duke Lacrosse
  • Caleb Williams, USC Football – Winner

Best College Athlete, Women’s Sports

  • Jordy Bahl, Oklahoma Softball
  • Caitlin Clark, Iowa Women’s Basketball – Winner
  • Izzy Scane, Northwestern Lacrosse
  • Trinity Thomas, Florida Gators Gymnastics

Best Athlete With a Disability

  • Erica McKee, Sled Hockey Team
  • Zach Miller, Snowboarding – Winner
  • Aaron Pike, Wheelchair Racing & Cross-Country Skiing
  • Susannah Scaroni, Wheelchair Racing

Best NFL Player

  • Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers
  • Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
  • Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings
  • Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs – Winner

Best MLB Player

  • Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals
  • Aaron Judge, New York Yankees
  • Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels – Winner
  • Justin Verlander, Houston Astros

Best NHL Player

  • Jonathan Marchessault, Vegas Golden Knights
  • Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers – Winner
  • David Pastrňák, Boston Bruins
  • Linus Ullmark, Boston Bruins

Best NBA Player

  • Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat
  • Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
  • Nikola Jokić, Denver Nuggets – Winner
  • Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

Best WNBA Player

  • Skylar Diggins-Smith, Phoenix Mercury
  • Candace Parker, Chicago Sky (Current Las Vegas Aces)
  • Breanna Stewart, Seattle Storm (Current New York Liberty)
  • A’ja Wilson, Las Vegas Aces – Winner

Best Driver

  • Brittany Force, NHRA
  • Kyle Larson, NASCAR
  • Josef Newgarden, IndyCar
  • Max Verstappen, F1 – Winner

Best UFC Fighter

  • Leon Edwards
  • Jon Jones – Winner
  • Islam Makhachev
  • Amanda Nunes

Best Boxer

  • Gervonta Davis
  • Devin Haney
  • Claressa Shields – Winner
  • Shakur Stevenson

Best Soccer Player

  • Aitana Bonmatí, Spain/Barcelona
  • Erling Haaland, Norway/Manchester City
  • Lionel Messi, Argentina/PSG – Winner
  • Sophia Smith, USWNT/Portland Thorns

Best Golfer

  • Wyndham Clark
  • Nelly Korda
  • Jon Rahm
  • Scottie Scheffler – Winner

Best Tennis Player

  • Carlos Alcaraz
  • Novak Djokovic – Winner
  • Aryna Sabalenka
  • Iga Świątek

Potential 2023 ESPY Storylines to Watch

The past year had its fill of epic performances as well as inspiring comebacks that are sure to be showcased during the ceremony. Here are some of the 2023 highlights that may be included:

  • WNBA star Brittney Griner was released from a Russian prison on December 8, 2022, and is back on court in her Phoenix Mercury jersey.
  • After suffering a near-fatal cardiac event in a January 2, 2023, football game, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is cleared to return to the NFL.
  • The Kansas City Chiefs overcame a 10-point deficit to defeat the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII.
  • The Denver Nuggets won their first NBA Championship beating three-time winner Miami Heat.

2023 ESPYs Highlights

The 2023 ESPY Awards were another spectacular night of celebrating athletic achievement. The star-studded event brought together renowned athletes as well as other stars, like Lil Wayne & H.E.R. who both performed at the event. There were several key moments at this year’s event that recognized noteworthy achievements during the past year in sports.

The USWNT, a female soccer powerhouse that’s been celebrated far and wide, took away the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage. Their ongoing fight for equal pay with the men’s team, which they succeeded in getting a deal in 2022, earned them this honor.

Carmello Anthony was celebrated by fellow NBA players for his accomplishments both on and off the court. Anthony announced earlier this year that he was retiring from professional basketball. LeBron James’s family was on-hand to recognize his record-breaking achievement of surpassing the career scoring record previously held by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. James also made it clear that he’s not finished in the NBA.

A few other notable moments were the San Antonio Spurs organization being honored for their efforts in supporting the Uvalde, TX community following the horrific mass shooting that occurred at Robb Elementary in May 2022. The organization was named sports humanitarian team of the year for their volunteering and fundraising efforts to support the community. Additionally, Damar Hamlin introduced the Buffalo Bills training staff, who received the Pat Tillman Award for Service, who saved his life. Not a dry eye was in the crowd during this heart-warming moment in which a video of Hamlin’s recovery was shown and Hamlin himself hugged each member of the staff. The team’s Head Athletic trainer also took the moment to encourage everyone to learn CPR so they could help save a life.

Recap of the 2022 ESPY Awards

Hosted by NBA champion Stephen Curry, the 2022 ESPYs not only honored athletes but also celebrated the 50th anniversary of Title IX.

2022 Top Award Winners

  • Jimmy V Award for Perseverance: Dick Vitale, cancer survivor and basketball sportscaster, who helped Valvano on the stage in 1993.
  • Best Athlete, Men’s Sports: Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels
  • Best Athlete, Women’s Sports: Katie Ledecky, Swimming
  • Best Record-Breaking Performance: Stephen Curry passes Ray Allen for most 3-pointers made in NBA history
  • Best NFL Player: Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams
  • Best NBA Player: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
  • Best Play: Unbelievable corner kick goal by Megan Rapinoe (women’s soccer)

See the full list of 2022 ESPY winners on ESPN.com.

Stream the ESPY Awards Safely

Whether you want to watch the ESPY Awards ceremony or your favorite sports, trust StreamSafely to help you find the safest way to stream. Always remember to avoid illegal streaming sites that can damage your devices and potentially put you in legal trouble.

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