ESPN on Wednesday hosted its annual ESPY awards in Los Angeles. Many of the top names in sports attended the event, hosted by Danica Patrick and highlighted by an emotional speech from Jim Kelly after being honored with the Jimmy V Award.
After the tears were wiped away, it was time to hand out on-field hardware. The award for Best Moment went to Stefon Diggs and the Vikings for the dramatic, last-second 61-yard Hail Mary "Minnesota Miracle" catch vs. New Orleans in the NFC playoffs.
Diggs and (now former) teammate Case Keenum accepted the award. Diggs thanked his teammates, saying to Keenum: "Great pass, by the way."
Before leaving the stage Diggs spoke to aspiring athletes in the crowd or at home.
"Don't stop playing til the clock hits zero," he said. "It's crazy, it's cliche but anything can happen."
The play, which was also nominated for but did not win the year's best overall on-field play (that went to the women's basketball NCAA championship buzzer-beater by Notre Dame's Arike Ogunbowale), beat out the Vegas Knights defeating Winnipeg to advance to the NHL Final and No. 16 seed University of Maryland-Baltimore County defeating No. 1 seed Virginia in the NCAA basketball tournament.
The ESPYs had more Minnesota connections.
- Former Twin Cities Twisters star Maggie Nichols, of Little Canada, was among the more than 140 female gymnasts on stage at the end of the program, hand-in-hand accepting the Arthur Ashe Courage Award for coming forward to expose Larry Nassar's sexual abuse.
- The U.S. women's hockey team, which has eight players with Minnesota ties, won for Best Game for defeating Canada in a shootout to win the gold medal in Pyeong Chang. The game-winning save was made by Andover's Maddie Rooney.
- The hockey team was also nominated - along with the U.S. men's curling team, based in Duluth, and Afton's Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall in cross-country skiing - for Best Olympic Moment. But that award went to snowboarder Shaun White. Curling skip John Shuster was nominated for Best Male Olympian but lost to White.
- Sylvia Fowles of the Lynx was nominated for Best Female Athlete, an award that went to snowboarder Chloe Kim.
- Maya Moore was named Best WNBA Player. Fowles was also nominated.
- Paralympic snowboarder "Monster" Mike Schultz of St. Cloud won Best Male Athlete with a Disability.
- Former Canterbury jockey Mike Smith was nominated for Best Jockey, which was awarded to Jose Ortiz.