LOS ANGELES (AP) – The US national football team Wednesday celebrated its victory at the Women's World Cup on both sides, honored by a parade of gangs in New York before heading to the West Coast and collecting trophies at ESPYS in the evening.
Alex Morgan won the female athlete of the year and shared the award for the best team with her fellow footballers.
"Sorry, but it's probably the second best trophy we've won this week," said Morgane jokingly, raising her individual trophy.
While she was getting up from the front row, Megan Rapinoe's black tuxedo jacket opened and exposed her left breast, which was captured by cameras showing the parade's current thread. It was not immediately clear whether the national broadcast had been broadcast live.
"I've dropped the F bomb on every scene these past four days, so we will not spare you," Rapinoe told the public.
Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks has won the title of male athlete of the year at the show, paying tribute to the best athletes and sporting moments of the past year.
"It's all about hard work, and when you believe in your dreams, it can happen," said Antetokounmpo. "If all goes well, if I continue to work hard, there is more to come."
Actress Tracy Morgan presided over the show at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles.
Alex Morgan thanked ESPN for its recent agreement on the organization of NWSL games.
"When the World Cup is behind us, it's the professional league we have to continually improve and develop," she said. "Investments in women and girls should not only happen on the playgrounds, but also in more badass stories, extraordinary women who continue to show that we are more than just athletes."
Sandra Bullock announced the award for the best team stating: "All who are in favor of equal pay say yes."
The American women's team is suing for equal pay for their male counterparts.
"Keep fighting for equality," said Billie Jean King to the team earlier in the series.
Carli Lloyd informed the crowd that the team had their hair done and put on during the flight out of New York.
"I think we look fabulous," she said.
Lloyd added, "The trip has been amazing, we are going to the next World Cup."
Other athletes hailed the victory of the Women's World Cup stage, including Drew Brees, winner of the best record.
"It will stay in the story forever," said Lonzo Ball, new New Orleans Pelicans player, on the red carpet. "I do not even watch football and I watched it, that means a lot."
Zion Williamson, the number one pick in last month's NBA draft, was named the best university athlete for his season at Duke.
"I would have liked to stay a second year, but I had something else to do," Williamson said with a smile.
The best time award was shared by a trio of recent retirees: Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn, NFL player Rob Gronkowski and NBA player Dwyane Wade.
UCLA gymnast, Katelyn Ohashi, has collected two trophies: the best game and the best viral sporting moment for her ground exercise routine which earned her a perfect score of 10.
Ohashi accepted his trophy for best game by making rhyming remarks.
Antetokounmpo was also a double winner, adding the honors of the best player in the NBA.
The St. Louis Blues won the best return from the worst NHL team at the start of the season at the Stanley Cup championship. Ryan O'Reilly's center took off his tooth to thank the crowd.
Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes won the NFL best player award; Milwaukee brewer hitter Christian Yelich was voted MLB's best player; and Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals won the NHL Player of the Year award.
The special laureates were:
– Bill Russell, Arthur Ashe Award for Courage The 85-year-old Basketball Hall of Fame was hailed for its dedication to upholding social justice and ensuring opportunity for all young people. Presented by Kobe Bryant, Russell recognized a standing ovation but did not express himself.
– Former Navy Sergeant Kirstie Ennis, Pat Tillman Award for services rendered. During his service in Afghanistan, Ennis had an accident that resulted in traumatic injuries and finally amputation of the left leg above the knee. She is trying to become the first female amputee above the knee to reach the seven highest peaks in the world.
– Rob Mendez, Jimmy V Award for perseverance. The high school football coach was born without arms or legs due to a rare disorder. Mendez learned the basics of football using video games. He is the head coach of the Prospect High junior college team in Saratoga, California. They went 8-2 in their first season and reached the title game of the league.
"I also want to thank football for all that it has brought, for allowing me to be part of a team," said Mendez, sitting in a motorized chair. "Look at me and see how much I'm passionate about coaching and where it's leading me in. I've gone so far and said I can not go any further."
– Jim Calhoun, best coach. The UConn national triple champion coach now guides the Division III of the University of St. Joseph.
By BETH HARRIS Sports writer. Jolene Latimer, an independent AP writer, contributed to this report.