Forecasting the Best Athlete in Each League at the 2019 ESPY Awards
The ESPY Awards is the most celebrated awards ceremony in sports. Players from every league experience special moments and give memorable speeches fans always remember. Hosted by Tracy Morgan, the 2019 ESPY Award‘s most popular voting category may be Athlete of the Year. Although we continue to speculate, these are our picks for the best athlete in each league. Check out the ESPYs on July 10 to see if we’re right.
Best NFL Player: Patrick Mahomes
- Other nominees: Aaron Donald, Todd Gurley, and Drew Brees
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes took the league by storm in his first season. The NFL MVP threw for 50 touchdown passes while leading the Chiefs to the AFC Championship game. Mahomes made defenders look silly, even pulling off a no-look pass. Clearly the best player on the offense, the 23-year-old will get a lot of pressure from Aaron Donald, who nears Reggie White territory with his ability to dominate on the defensive line.
Best NBA Player: Giannis Antetokounmpo
- Other nominees: Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Paul George
How can you choose anyone over the league MVP? Giannis Antetokounmpo became a household name leading Milwaukee to the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Greek Freak averaged 27 points and 12 rebounds per game and helped the Bucks reach the Eastern Conference Finals.
Best WNBA Player: Breanna Stewart
- Other nominees: Diana Taurasi, Elena Delle Donne, and Candace Parker
Breanna Stewart is an excellent player from the UConn women’s basketball machine. The 24-year-old averaged 21 points and eight rebounds per game while capturing the 2018 WNBA MVP Award. Oh, and she also led the Seattle Storm to the 2018 WNBA Championship.
Best MLB Player: Blake Snell
- Other nominees: Jacob deGrom, Mookie Betts, and Christian Yelich
All of these players deserve the award, but we’re going with Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell. He posted a 21-5 record with a 1.89 ERA and struck out 220 batters. Snell won the 2018 AL Cy Young and also the pitching version of the Triple Crown.
Best NHL Player: Nikita Kucherov
- Other nominees: Connor McDavid, Alexander Ovechkin, and Nathan McKinnon
Nikita Kucherov quickly became one of the best NHL players. The former second-round pick in the 2011 NHL Draft had a season for the ages, racking up 128 points (41G, 87A). He took home the Art Ross (top point scorer), Hart Memorial (MVP), and Ted Lindsay (MOP selected by the media) awards. With 116 points, Connor McDavid had an excellent season, too. But he wasn’t quite as good as the talented Lightning forward.
Best MLS Player: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
- Other nominees:Wayne Rooney, Aaron Long, and Josef Martinez
The 37-year-old L.A. Galaxy player scored 22 goals in 27 games last season. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is also one of the most watched players on the MLS circuit. Rooney is a well-known name from his days playing for the English World Cup team, and he scored 12 goals in 20 games last season.
Best NWSL player: Sam Kerr
- Other nominees: Lindsey Horan, Adrianna Franch, and Abby Erceg
This category is stacked with arguably the four most important women in the NWSL today. Sam Kerr and Lindsey Horan are the league’s last two MVPs (2017 and 2018 respectively); Adrianna Franch is the back-to-back winner of Goalkeeper of the Year; Abby Erceg was the 2018 Defender of the Year. But we have to go with Kerr in this one, as she racked up 16 goals in 20 games, which also won her the Golden Boot award.