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On Thursday, three athletes with Minnesota ties could take home ESPY Awards to add to their already-decorated trophy cases. And the nominees are

Paige Bueckers: Comeback Athlete of the Year

Hopkins High School alum Paige Bueckers already has one ESPY: Best Women's College Athlete, earned in 2021 for her breakout freshman season with the University of Connecticut women's basketball team. But an ACL tear sidelined her for the 2022-23 season. This year, Bueckers returned to lead the Huskies to the Final Four, averaging 21.9 points per game and earning first-team All-America honors. The other nominees are gymnast Simone Biles, Browns quarterback Joe Flacco and Zion Williamson of the Pelicans.

Anthony Edwards: Play of the Year

Anthony Edwards' poster dunk on the Utah Jazz's John Collins has been memorialized in a two-story photo that takes up an entire wall of a concourse at Target Center. It could help Edwards earn an ESPY this year, too. The emphatic dunk, which came in the Timberwolves' 114-104 win over the Jazz in March, is one of four plays nominated for Play of the Year.

Napheesa Collier: Best WNBA Player

Averaging 20 points and 10.2 rebounds per game this season, Lynx forward Napheesa Collier is the centerpiece of a Minnesota team that won the in-season Commissioner's Cup tournament and has emerged as a WNBA title contender. Collier is set to represent the U.S. at the Paris Olympics alongside her fellow nominees Alyssa Thomas (Connecticut Sun), Breanna Stewart (New York Liberty) and A'ja Wilson (Las Vegas Aces).

Other local connections

The Vikings' 10th overall draft pick this year, quarterback J.J. McCarthy, helped Michigan win a college football national championship, which has the Wolverines up for Best Team.

Three national honorees earned The Billie Jean King Youth Leadership Award, which recognizes young people making a positive impact on their community through sport. Twenty others were named regional recipients, including Claire Wegmann-Krider and Lila Emerson, both from Edina. They were involved with "Her Next Play" Edina Girls Sports Summit.

The ESPY Awards, produced by ESPN, will be held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on Thursday, beginning at 7 p.m. Central time.