Former league MVP winners in Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook were the biggest NBA names to win awards at the 2021 ESPYs. Charlotte Hornets guard and Rookie of the Year winner LaMelo Ball was the only other NBA winner.
The 2021 ESPYs went back to its original format with the traditional awards, a year after it only presented awards to honor extraordinary acts of activism and humanitarian efforts in its remote 2020 edition.
Here's a deeper look at NBA winners at the 2021 ESPY's
Stephen Curry wins ESPY for 'Best NBA Player'
Curry beat out other nominees in Luka Doncic, Chris Paul and 2020-21 league MVP Nikola Jokic to win the award.
Over the course of the 2020-21 regular season, through 63 games, he averaged a league-leading 32.0 points per game while also putting up 5.8 assists and 5.5 rebounds on shooting splits of 48.2 percent from the field, 42.1 percent from beyond the arc and 91.6 percent from the free-throw line.
In the league MVP voting, he finished third behind Jokic and Joel Embiid. However, this should come as no surprise as only five times in the ESPYs 28-year history, has the 'Best NBA Player' been awarded to the league's reigning MVP.
This is Curry's second ESPY for 'Best NBA Player', having previously won it in 2015.
LeBron James is at the top of the charts for most ESPYs won under this category, receiving the award a record seven times (2007, 09, 12, 13, 16, 17, 18).
.@StephenCurry30 thanks his fans for voting for him to take home the ESPY for Best NBA Player 👏 pic.twitter.com/uweHklcu6S- NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) July 11, 2021
Overall, this is Curry's third ESPY as he also won the award for 'Best Record-Breaking Performance' in 2016 - then, the first NBA player to win an ESPY under this category - for his 402 made 3-pointers, the single-season NBA record.
Russell Westbrook wins ESPY for Best Record-Breaking Performance
Russell Westbrook won this award for breaking Oscar Robertson's 47-year-old record of 181 career triple-doubles. He did so in a game against the Atlanta Hawks in May by recording 28 points, 21 assists and 13 rebounds.
At the end of the 2020-21 season, the fourth time in five years that he has averaged a triple-double of the season, Westbrook has 184 triple-doubles to his name with the next active player for the most being LeBron James with 99.
.@russwest44 takes home the ESPY for Best Record Breaking Performance after an incredible season 👏 pic.twitter.com/2oP4QTVa0b- NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) July 11, 2021
Westbrook, after Curry in 2016, is only the second NBA player to win the ESPY for 'Best Record-Breaking Performance' since the award began in 2001.
LaMelo Ball wins ESPY for Best Breakthrough Athlete
Fresh of being named 2020-21 Kia Rookie of the Year, the youngest ball brother was named Best Breakthrough Athlete of 2021 at the ESPYs.
.@MELOD1P wins Best Breakthrough Athlete and may have had the best speech so far 😂 pic.twitter.com/ofOkyHtG6G- ESPN (@espn) July 11, 2021
Ball was one of four athletes nominated and the only from the NBA, beating out Justin Herbert (Los Angeles Chargers, NFL), Chase Young (Washington Football Team, NFL), )and Crystal Dangerfield (Minnesota Lynx, WNBA). For more on his win, click here.
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