My top 5 ESPY Award Winners for Best Breakthrough Athlete include three football players. These top 5 ESPY Award Winners for Best Breakthrough Athlete are in order of their wins. This honor has been given since 1993, and through 2001 was given to honor the previous year’s achievements. Since then, it honors achievements from June of the previous year on, according to Wikipedia.
Top 5 ESPY Award Winners for Best Breakthrough Athlete Choice 1: Hideo Nomo (Won in 1996)
As a Los Angeles Dodger, the pitcher created quite a stir, especially among Japanese fans. He had a successful career in Japan prior to taking employment in Major League Baseball with his unique windup, which landed him the nickname “The Tornado”. In 1995, Nomo was selected to the NL All-Star Team, won the NL Rookie of the Year with a 13-6 record, 2.54 ERA, and struck out 236 batters in just 191.1 innings. Nomo only gave up 5.8 hits per 9 innings, according to Baseball-Reference.com.
Top 5 ESPY Award Winners for Best Breakthrough Athlete Choice 2: Tiger Woods (Won in 1997)
Eldrick make quite an auspicious start to his golfing career at just 20 years of age, when he turned pro in 1996. He won two tournaments before his 21st birthday (The Las Vegas Invitational and Walt Disney World/Oldsmobile Classic in October 1996). For his efforts, he was named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year and PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, according to Wikipedia. But that year, he made even bigger breakthroughs with endorsements via Nike ($40 million) and Titleist ($20 million).
Top 5 ESPY Award Winners for Best Breakthrough Athlete Choice 3: Randy Moss (Won in 1999)
The Minnesota Vikings receiver had impressive stats for his rookie season, stymieing audiences with his athletic ability, which helped him get a Pro Bowl selection and AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. For the 1998 season, Moss caught 69 balls for 1,313 yards and 17 touchdowns according to Pro-Fooball-Reference.com. He became a prime time star on a Week 5 Monday Night Football game when he netted 190 yards on 5 catches and 2 scores of 40-plus yards against Green Bay, according to Wikipedia.
Top 5 ESPY Award Winners for Best Breakthrough Athlete Choice 4: Tom Brady (Won in 2002)
For someone picked 199th in the 2000 NFL Draft, according to Brady’s Wikipedia bio, the QB fits that “hidden gem” designation, but it would take his second season in the NFL to begin to shine brightly because of an injury to Drew Bledsoe. He went 11-3 as a starter in 2001, completing 264 of 413 passes for 2,843 yards and 18 TDs, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com. Brady led the Patriots to a thrilling Super Bowl XXXVI win via his heroics against the Rams, driving his team from their 15 yard line with 81 seconds left and zero timeouts for a winning field goal despite John Madden’s loud mouth, know-it-all bellowing on TV urging Brady to settle for a regulation tie.
Top 5 ESPY Award Winners for Best Breakthrough Athlete Choice 5: Adrian Peterson (Won in 2008)
The Oklahoma standout had an incredible rookie season in 2007, winning AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and being the Pro Bowl MVP. He rushed for 296 yards on 30 carries against San Diego on November 4, 2007 for an NFL record, and also had 224 yards on 20 carries against Chicago a few weeks earlier (3 TDs in each game). His 1,036 yards in the first eight games were the best performance by a rookie in NFL history according to Wikipedia. Peterson’s first year stats, despite missing 2 full games because of an injury and only starting 9 games, were as follows: 1,341 yards on 238 attempts and 12 TDs, plus another 268 yards on 19 catches according to Pro-Football-Reference.com.
Sources for this article about my top 5 ESPY Award Winners for Best Breakthrough Athlete:
Best Breakthrough Athlete ESPY Award:
Hideo Nomo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hideo_Nomo, Wikipedia
Hideo Nomo: http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/n/nomohi01.shtml, Baseball-Reference.com
Tiger Woods: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiger_Woods, Wikipedia
List of career achievements by Tiger Woods: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_career_achievements_by_Tiger_Woods, Wikipedia
Randy Moss: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randy_Moss, Wikipedia
Randy Moss: http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/M/MossRa00.htm, Pro-Football-Reference.com
Tom Brady: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Brady, Wikipedia
Tom Brady: http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/B/BradTo00.htm, Pro-Football-Reference.com
Adrian L. Peterson: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adrian_L._Peterson, Wikipedia
Adrian Peterson: http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/P/PeteAd01.htm, Pro-Football-Reference.com