- (Photo: REUTERS/Stephen Chernin)
New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow and New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin walked away from the 2012 ESPY Awards as winners, and both thanked God for the honors they received.
Tebow and his former Denver Broncos teammate, Demaryius Thomas, accepted the award for Best Moment of the Year, which they received for connecting on a game-winning 80-yard touchdown pass during the playoffs last season against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"First of all, I just want to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ," said Tebow during his acceptance speech. He also thanked his former teammates, and encouraged Denver's new starting quarterback, Peyton Manning, to "take care of them."
"When we were one and four, not many people gave us a big chance last year, but we believed in each other, we believed in ourselves and we tried to make something special happen," he said. "And when you put in a lot of hard work, special things can happen, and this was a great moment."
Alongside actress Jessica Biel, Tebow also served as the co-presenter of the award for Best Breakthrough Athlete, which was given to Lin.
"I just want to first of all thank God for this opportunity to be here. It's been an unbelievable year," said Lin, who also thanked his family, Knicks fans and his teammates.
In an interview with ESPN's Hannah Storm prior to the awards show, Lin reflected on the last year and how his life has changed since "Linsanity" began. Before his career took off he was forced to sleep on the couches of friends and family, saw very little playing time and was unsure of how long his career in the NBA would last.
"It's just been unbelievable just to go from not really knowing where my next job was going to be and not really knowing how long I had in the NBA, and now being able to experience everything, being able to play on a consistent basis and to enjoy the game," he said.
The Knicks have decided to keep Lin in New York by matching a $28.8 million offer made to Lin by the Houston Rockets, the New York Post reported Thursday. Knicks head coach Mike Woodson told the Post that, despite dealing with some injuries late last season, Lin will be the team's starting point guard in the upcoming NBA season.
It shouldn't be any surprise that two athletes who have entire movements named after them – "Tebowmania" and "Linsanity," respectively – would come up big at a sports awards show, but there were several other notable honorees as well.
LeBron James, the basketball sensation who won his first NBA championship with the Miami Heat less than a month ago, walked away from the show with three ESPYs, including Male Athlete of the Year. He also won the award for Championship Performance of the Year, and the Heat won Team of the Year honors.
The Arthur Ashe Courage Award was given to The University of Tennessee's legendary women's basketball coach, Pat Summitt.
Summitt resigned from her head coaching role in April after being diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease in August 2011. The award was presented to her by Peyton Manning, who is a former member of the Tennessee Volunteers football team.
"I am deeply touched," said Summitt. "I'm going to keep on keepin' on, I promise you that."