LAS VEGAS -- ESPN already chose Michael Jordan as its athlete of the century. So it was little surprise that Jordan won the network's athlete of the decade award Monday night.
Jordan, who two months ago was acclaimed by ESPN as the athlete of the century, won both male athlete of the decade and pro basketball player of the decade in the eighth annual ESPY Awards.He received a standing ovation from the audience that included Tiger Woods, Mark McGwire, Evander Holyfield and members of the U.S. women's soccer team, among others.
"You guys are making me turn red up here," Jordan said as he got the ovation.
Jordan's former coach, Phil Jackson, was also honored as coach of the decade, and the Chicago Bulls were chosen team of the decade.
The awards, held in this gambling city for the first time, drew a number of top athletes along with celebrities for the two and a half hour show at the MGM Grand hotel-casino.
In addition to giving awards for 1999 performances, ESPYs were handed out in 15 categories for performances of the decade.
While Jordan won male athlete of the decade, tennis player Steffi Graf was the female athlete.
Tiger Woods was also a big winner, being selected as golfer of the decade and of the year. He was also selected as male athlete of the year.
"This has been a great decade, even though I'm not that old," Woods said.
"It all started when I was 14, that fateful day 10 years ago."
The female athlete of the year was Mia Hamm, who played on the U.S. women's soccer team that was also selected as team of the year.
McGwire won baseball player of the decade, while Evander Holyfield was fighter of the decade, and Jerry Rice was football player of the decade.
"I treat my career sort of like a good bottle of red wine. You get better with age," McGwire said.
The awards were voted on by a panel of ESPN and ABC employees as well as some sports journalists and former athletes.
The show featured a somber moment in a tribute to William "Dave" Sanders, the Columbine High School teacher and coach who died while trying to save students' lives during the murderous rampage at the Colorado school.
Sanders' family received a courage and humanitarian award named after the late Arthur Ashe.