Tiger Woods garnered three ESPY Awards trophies Wednesday night, including his fifth male athlete of the year award, giving him 21 wins in the show's 16-year history and moving him past retired cyclist Lance Armstrong for most wins by a male athlete.
Woods earned his fourth consecutive ESPY for best golfer and won best championship performance for his playoff victory at the U.S. Open on a lame left knee. Woods is at home in Florida recuperating from last month's knee surgery, causing him to miss this week's British Open and the rest of the PGA season.
Singer Justin Timberlake poses backstage after hosting the 2008 ESPY Awards (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly) in Los Angeles, California July 16, 2008. (China Daily/Agencies)
Singer Justin Timberlake, an avid golfer and Memphis Tigers fan, hosted the show honoring the year's best sports moments and athletes, which moved this year to the Nokia Theatre downtown. Timberlake performed an original rock opera that showcased his passion for sports. He repeatedly zinged Los Angeles Galaxy star David Beckham, who sat in the front row with his wife, Victoria.
"Dude, I got to give you props. Single-handedly you made soccer in America this much more popular," Timberlake said, holding his thumb and index finger an inch apart. "I call it soccer because in America we already have a game dudes play called football."
The Super Bowl champion New York Giants tied Woods with three victories: best game, best upset and best play, which was David Tyree's leaping catch of quarterback Eli Manning's pass that kept the team's game-winning drive alive.
Candace Parker was a double winner, earning female athlete of the year and female college athlete honors. She led Tennessee to its second consecutive NCAA national championship before becoming the WNBA's No. 1 draft pick and going to the Los Angeles Sparks.
Soccer player David Beckham presents the "Best Female Athlete" award to Los Angeles Sparks basketball player Candace Parker at the 2008 ESPY Awards in Los Angeles, California July 16, 2008. (China Daily/Agencies)
"I'm just excited I got to meet David Beckham," said Parker, who received her trophy from the English superstar. "I grew up playing soccer, so I love David Beckham. I was thinking, 'Don't trip, don't trip.' He's truly an inspiration."
Tennis players Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova, along with Woods, boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., NHL star Sidney Crosby and bowler Norm Duke repeated as winners in their individual sports categories. Like Woods, Federer won his category for the fourth straight year.
Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton was chosen as comeback of the year, having successfully battled drug addiction to reach the major leagues. Tuesday, Hamilton hit a record 28 homers in the first round of the All-Star Home Run Derby.
Tommie Smith and John Carlos received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award nearly 40 years after their black power salute on the medals stand at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.
Former Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everett was given the Jimmy V ESPY for Perseverance, named for the late North Carolina State basketball coach Jim Valvano.
Everett sustained what was thought to be a paralyzing spinal cord injury during the 2007 season opener, but after rehabilitation, he is walking again.
Actor Will Farrell accepts the "Best Male Athlete" award on behalf of Tiger Woods at the 2008 ESPY Awards in Los Angeles, California July 16, 2008. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
The best moment category honored Western Oregon's Sara Tucholsky, along with Central Washington's Mallory Holtman and Liz Wallace, for their sportsmanship during a Division II softball game.
Tucholsky homered, but missed first base and started back to tag it when she collapsed with a knee injury. Holtman and Wallace, her opponents, stunned fans by carrying Tucholsky around the bases so the three-run homer would count.