The Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team won two awards at the 15th annual ESPY Awards show, both marking their national championship.
The team, which finished 34-3 en route to its seventh national title, was named best women’s collegiate team and also won the Under Armour Undeniable Award for best women’s collegiate team.
The Lady Vols also were nominated for best team, which went to the Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts.
Candace Parker and softball’s national player of the year Monica Abbott were nominated for best female athlete, but it was won by Arizona softball pitcher Taryne Mowatt. Also nominated were the WNBA’s Lisa Leslie and LPGA star Lorena Ochoa.
LaDainian Tomlinson won four trophies, including male athlete of the year for his record-setting season with the San Diego Chargers.
Tomlinson defeated LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, Wimbledon champion Roger Federer and Tiger Woods for athlete of the year.
James and comedian Jimmy Kimmel co-hosted the 15th annual show honoring the year’s best sports moments and athletes at Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre. It airs Sunday at 9 p.m. EDT on ESPN.
Tomlinson also won best NFL player, record-breaking performance and the Like Nothing Else award. The NFL MVP scored 31 touchdowns and 186 points, both league records, and rushed for 1,875 yards.
Tomlinson declined to appear backstage to talk with reporters.
James won best NBA player; Federer earned his third straight male tennis player trophy; Manning won championship performance for his Super Bowl triumph; and Woods was chosen best golfer for the third year in a row, his record 18th ESPY.
“I’m kind of glad to bring it back home to Indianapolis,” Manning said. “The city of Indianapolis has just embraced this championship. It truly was a team championship and part of the team was the city.”
James did a song-and-dance routine in glasses and a wig to Bobby Brown’s “My Prerogative” with rewritten lyrics.
“Bobby Brown just checked back into rehab as a result of that performance,” Kimmel joked.
Manning, who hosted “Saturday Night Live” last season, gave James a good review.
“It’s hard to do,” he said. “The dancing was probably the highlight.”
James clearly enjoyed playing comic foil to Kimmel, who called the basketball superstar’s singing “terrible.”
“This is what I do off the court: have fun, tell jokes, I’m very outgoing,” James said backstage. “This was perfect for me, especially when you got a guy like Jimmy working beside you.”
The Colts were named best team, while Tony Dungy, the first black coach to win a Super Bowl, captured the best coach-manager category.
Arizona softball star Mowatt won female athlete of the year and female college athlete honors. She pitched every inning, including eight complete games and threw more than 1,000 pitches in six days, to lead the Wildcats to the NCAA championship.
She defeated Los Angeles Sparks center Lisa Leslie, LPGA golfer Lorena Ochoa and Tennessee basketball star Parker for athlete of the year.
“I definitely was a little surprised to win,” Mowatt said backstage. “Being up against them, it’s just surreal.”
Boise State’s football team won awards for best game and best play. The Broncos upset Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl on a two-point conversion using the Statue of Liberty play.
The best moment award went to the New Orleans Saints, who returned to the Superdome for the first time since Hurricane Katrina and defeated the Atlanta Falcons on “Monday Night Football.”
The best finish category was added this year. The Los Angeles Dodgers won for a victory over the San Diego Padres in which they hit four consecutive homers to force extra innings and then won on a two-run homer by Nomar Garciaparra.
North Carolina State women’s basketball coach Kay Yow won the inaugural Jimmy V ESPY for Perseverance. She was undergoing chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer while coaching the Wolfpack during this year’s NCAA tournament.
Vol athletes honored at ESPYs
Published: Fri Jul 13, 2007 | Modified: Fri Jul 13, 2007 11:05 a.m.