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UConn Legends Take Home Two ESPY Awards

Jim Calhoun’s speech tugged at the heartstrings.

The 2019 ESPYs - Show Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Tonight’s ESPYs had a decidedly UConn flavor to it. ESPN’s award show kicked off with the Best Coach award, given to none other than the GOAT (Dan Hurley’s words) himself, Jim Calhoun.

It started with clips of the E:60 special on Calhoun’s work over at St. Joseph’s, narrated by UConn. Sidebar: The Calhoun Project is a must-watch on ESPN streaming platforms.

Then Calhoun, in his classic limp, ambled up the stage and proceeded to shut it down. Below is Calhoun’s speech in its entirety, but here are two little parts that stood out:

“Bill Russell, I love you man, but you cut me for this guy named Havlicek.”

“I’ve dedicated my life doing for others what those folks (his coaches/mentors) did for me. Being tough on kids, loving them, pushing them, and teaching them to win every day. This is about more than basketball. It’s about all the coaches and teaches out there coaching, believing, mentoring, and making a difference in young people’s lives. The simple idea has never been more important today; reach out to help others. It’s the most incredible experience a man or woman can have: to help someone.”

But the GOAT wasn’t done. Backstage, with award in hand, Calhoun was asked who he’d give an ESPY to. His answer was priceless:

Hold up wait a minute? Y’all thought we were finished?!

UConn legend Breanna Stewart also took home the best WNBA Player ESPY. Unfortunately, she lost out to equally-amazing US soccer star Alex Morgan for Best Female Athlete, so she wasn’t able to give a speech.

And the last win UConn earned on the night was in reality a loss. Yes, the UConn women were regrettably up for Best Game, the 76-81 Final Four loss this year to Notre Dame. But the people have spoken, and the Rams-Chiefs tilt won out, to the relief of many in New England.