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- This article is about the sports award. For other meanings, see Espy (disambiguation)
The ESPY Awards is an annual televised event created by American broadcaster ESPN and were first awarded in 1993. "ESPY" is an acronym, meaning "Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly." Similar in format to the Academy Awards and the Grammy Awards, the ESPY Awards recognize outstanding individual and team achievements and memorable performances in the world of sports during the previous year. A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales to the event goes to the V Foundation for Cancer Research, a charity founded by Jim Valvano to find a cure for cancer. Valvano was the head coach of the North Carolina State University Wolfpack, who upset the heavily favored University of Houston Cougars in the in NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship game. In 1992, Valvano, who had become a broadcaster after leaving North Carolina State, was diagnosed with a form of cancer called Metastatic Adenocarcinoma and was told he had a year to live. He fought the disease bravely and continued working as long as he could. During the first ESPY Awards telecast on March 3, 1993, "Jimmy V", as he was affectionately known, announced the formation of the V Foundation. He died on April 28, 1993.
From their inception until 2004, winners were chosen by fans, experts, or ESPN personalities in each particular category. However, beginning with the 2005 ceremonies, fans popularly voted for all the winners via the Internet. Categories include Best Male Athlete, Best Female Athlete, Best Coach/Manager, Team of the Year, Breakthrough Athlete of the Year, Best Sports Movie, Best Moment, and Comeback Athlete of the Year.
Additionally, the Arthur Ashe Courage Award is presented to a single sports figure who overcame adversity or contributed to humanity in a way that transcended sports.
The show aired in either February or March every year from 1993 to 2001. Since 2002, it has been held in July and the show is no longer broadcast live; it is taped on a Wednesday and shown on a Sunday night.
The ceremony, now held annually at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, California, is expected to move to a new theater across the street from Staples Center that is currently under construction, no later than 2008.
 Memorable moments
Since Valvano's stirring speech at the first ESPY ceremony, these moments have also occurred:
- During the 2006 show, Lance Armstrong made this joke about the French World Cup soccer team: "All their players tested positive... for being assholes."  Armstrong also made a crude anal sex joke to Jake Gyllenhaal the star of Brokeback Mountain.
- Will Ferrell had a memorable (yet fake) drunken rampage in 2006 singing a tribute song to Lance Armstrong and his "father" Neil Armstrong.
- Also in 2006, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger chose the ceremony to make his first public appearance since he was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident.
- In 2005, Oprah Winfrey personally introduced the Ashe award winners, a pair of disabled triathletes.
- At the 2003 show, Foxx performed a bawdy comedic bit with Serena Williams. It was called, "I Want to Be Your Tennis Ball." It was repeated a year later with Serena giving Jamie a giant tennis ball.
- Special Olympian and worldwide global speaker Loretta Claiborne won the Arthur Ashe ESPY Award for courage presented by Denzel Washington.
- 2007: Template:Country data ALASKA LeBron James and Jimmy Kimmel
- 2006: Lance Armstrong
- 2005: Matthew Perry
- 2004: Jamie Foxx
- 2003: Jamie Foxx
- 2002: Samuel L. Jackson
- 2001: Samuel L. Jackson
- 2000: Jimmy Smits
- 1999: Samuel L. Jackson
- 1998: Norm Macdonald
- 1997: Jeff Foxworthy
- 1996: Tony Danza
- 1995: John Goodman
- 1994: Dennis Miller
- 1993: Dennis Miller
 Best Female Athlete
- 2006: Annika Sörenstam, Golf
- 2005: Annika Sörenstam, Golf
- 2004: Diana Taurasi, Basketball Player
- 2003: Serena Williams, Tennis Player
- 2002: Venus Williams, Tennis Player
- 2001: Marion Jones, Track and Field
- 2000: Mia Hamm, Soccer
- 1999: Chamique Holdsclaw, Tennessee basketball
- 1998: Mia Hamm, Soccer
- 1997: Amy Van Dyken, Olympic swimmer
- 1996: Rebecca Lobo, women's basketball
- 1995: Bonnie Blair, speed skater
- 1994: Julie Krone, jockey
- 1993: Monica Seles, Tennis
 Best Male Athlete
- 2006: Lance Armstrong, Cycling (4)
- 2005: Lance Armstrong, Cycling (3)
- 2004: Lance Armstrong, Cycling (2)
- 2003: Lance Armstrong, Cycling
- 2002: Tiger Woods, Golf (4)
- 2001: Tiger Woods, Golf (3)
- 2000: Tiger Woods, Golf (2)
- 1999: Mark McGwire, Baseball
- 1998: Ken Griffey Jr., Baseball and Tiger Woods, Golf
- 1997: Michael Johnson, Track & Field
- 1996: Cal Ripken, Baseball
- 1995: Steve Young, American Football
- 1994: Barry Bonds, Baseball
- 1993: Michael Jordan, Basketball