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Drew Brees and New Orleans Saints edge Kobe Bryant and Lakers for ESPY awards

July 14, 2010 |  8:57 pm

The irony wasn't lost on New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton.

In an interesting twist, the Lakers lost the Best Team award to the Saints, while Lakers guard Kobe Bryant fell short to Saints quarterback Drew Brees for the Best Male Athlete on Wednesday at the 2010 ESPY Awards Show at L.A. Live's Nokia Theatre.

"It's hard to beat the Lakers in L.A.," said Payton, whose team had six ESPY nominations.

But they did.

Despite collecting his fifth NBA title, winning his second Finals MVP award and valiantly, although painfully, fighting through assorted injuries, Bryant failed to capture what would've been his fifth ESPY award, which is determined by fan votes. Former Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols and NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson were the other nominees in the Best Male Athlete category, while the Best Team award included the Alabama football team, the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks, Connecticut's women's basketball team and MLB's New York Yankees. The Lakers won the award last season.

The consolation for the Lakers entailed the Coach of the Year award, which went to Phil Jackson after he collected his 11th NBA ring as well as the Best NBA Player award to Bryant. Only Lakers guard Derek Fisher was seen in attendance, though he wasn't made available to media during the red-carpet ceremonies.

In his 14-year career, Bryant won five ESPY awards, including two individual honors. Those came in 2006 when Bryant won the Under Armor Undeniable Performance Award for his career-high 81-point performance against the Toronto Raptors as well as in 2008 when he collected the Best NBA player award for his regular-season MVP performance. The other ESPY awards given to Bryant including a Outstanding Team award (2002) and Best Team Award (2009).

"More than three-quarters of this group was rooting for the Lakers to win the world championship this year. Brees said. "Being in L.A. and obviously there being a hometown crowd, everybody's cheering for the Lakers and everybody are huge fans. What's they've been able to accomplish as a team and an organization, they'er an unbelievable team, too. I feel like we all look to them and we can learn a lot from them. They just repeated. So we'll see.

--Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter: twitter.com/latmedina. E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com


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