By now you’ve probably heard that Kentucky came up empty at Wednesday night’s annual ESPY Awards. The Wildcats weren’t named best team. Anthony Davis wasn’t honored as the breakthrough athlete nor the male college athlete of the year. John Calipari got the snub as coach of the year. Even former Wildcat Rajon Rondo couldn’t get any love as the best NBA player. It’s hard to fathom how Kentucky, one of the most dominant and recognized teams in years, didn’t receive a single prize in sport’s most publicized awards event.
Immediately following the show and Kentucky’s lack of awards, Kentucky fans swarmed to message boards and blogs, lamenting the insignificance of the ESPY Awards, and jealously begrudging the winners. While it’s agreed that the ESPYs are pretty meaningless and some winners were undeserving, it helps to take an objective look at each award for which Kentucky was nominated, then see which ones were deserved and which ones weren’t.
The biggest oversight of the ESPY Awards was without doubt Robert Griffin III taking Best Male College Athlete over Anthony Davis. While “RG3″ is undoubtedly a talented player and future star, no one’s story or impact on their sport was as significant as Davis’. Not only is he the most dominant male college player in a decade or more, he’s a champion, player of the year, and incredible teammate.
Unfortunately for Anthony, it seems the obnoxious Kentucky “hateful” around the nation picked RG3 for nothing more than to spite the Wildcat’s success. It’s quite difficult to come to any other conclusion. Conspiracy theories aside, any objective lover of sports would have to recognize Davis’ superiority in every way. Davis was robbed of an award by a nation of sports fans who can’t put their emotions aside.
Many would argue Anthony Davis also deserved the Best Breakthrough Athlete award, which eventually went to Jeremy Lin. I’m the world’s biggest Kentucky fan, but I have to disagree. Davis was expected to succeed. His program was expected to thrive, and everyone knew he would fit right in as a Wildcat. He certainly exceeded expectations in many ways, but he didn’t break through like the Knicks’ Jeremy Lin. “Linsanity” was a short-lived craze with a hype matched only by Lin and the Knicks’ complete transformation. Jeremy Lin was a surprise, and he captured a nation for a few short weeks. I’m okay with him having another 15 minutes of fame.
I don’t know anyone surprised by the fact that John Calipari wasn’t named Best Coach/Manager. He likely deserved the award as much as any other nominee, but he’s widely recognized by fans outside of the commonwealth as one of the most hated and loathsome coaches in existence. Calipari’s ability to take young players, turn them into a team, and help them win a title was unmatched by his fellow nominated coaches. The award was given to Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants instead, likely due to nothing more than the popularity of the NFL among fan voters.
The final award which Kentucky missed was Best Team. There was a major push with Big Blue Nation to take over Twitter voting, and I’m actually stunned that they didn’t succeed. The Miami Heat were eventually named Best Team, primarily thanks to the recency of their championship and long-awaited nature of LeBron’s ring. The Miami Heat were not the best team in sports this year.
Neither were the Kentucky Wildcats. There. I said it.
The Baylor women’s basketball team should have taken home the award, with Kentucky a close second. The Lady Bears were perfect on the season, totally dominant in every way, and did things no team in history has accomplished. They should have won.
But Kentucky should’ve won too. If not Best Team, then at least Beat Male College Athlete or Best Coach. Unfortunately they didn’t. Oh well. When all is said and done, the ESPY Awards don’t mean a thing. It would have been nice to see our beloved coaches and players awarded with some extra hardware, but in the end, that championship trophy still does the trick for me.
Filed Under: Basketball
About the Author: Corey Tincher is a lifelong Kentucky fan and professional writer who couldn't keep the two worlds apart. He is the lead contributor for StraitCats.com and literally wrote the book on the 2012 NCAA Tournament Championship run, Big Blue Articles: Kentucky Basketball in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Follow @Corey_Tincher on Twitter for more Kentucky news and discussion.