Award shows are a tricky thing. The red carpet always feels short on substance, mostly because it’s about what everyone’s wearing. The show itself always feels a little too long. So credit the ESPYs (you know, ESPN’s annual celebration of sports) for trying to be different.
Like, hey, this year they got Drake to host!
The show aims to entertain and honor athletic achievement (or something), but also manages to carve out time for the more meaningful human stories. When I think about the history of the show, the memories range from Norm Macdonald’s opening monologue to Jim Valvano’s stirring speech.
Last night, everyone from Peyton Manning and Kevin Durant to the Seattle Seahawks and the U.S. Men’s National Team won awards. But the show was mostly about Drake putting his talent on display, and the stories of Michael Sam and Stuart Scott.
Drake Goes From ‘0 to 100’ Real Quick
Drake seemed like an ideal choice to host this year’s show. After all, he is the official ambassador of the Toronto Raptors, once brought a lint roller to an NBA playoff game and has friends in high places, from John Calipari to Johnny Manziel and LeBron James.
His monologue was shaky, but Drake redeemed himself with a hilarious segment featuring Blake Griffin, which included a surprise appearance from Chris Brown, who called himself “America’s Sweetheart” later in the show. It was tongue-in-cheek, we hope:
Later, Drake showed off his singing skills, as he was joined by Brian McKnight for a song titled “Side Pieces.” Yes, we’re scrambling to find the CDQ. And yes, the premise of the tune is self-explanatory:
Drizzy also shared a moment with one of his crushes, WNBA star Skylar Diggins, on stage:
curve .. pic.twitter.com/BsYk50YPtB
— Mr. World Premiere (@yardieiz4life) July 17, 2014
He started off slow, but by the end of the night, Drake proved why his multi-faceted skill set is best suited for an event like the ESPYs.
Inspiration and Perseverance
Michael Sam was a star defensive end at Missouri last season. In February, he came out, and, in May, made history as the NFL’s first openly gay player when the St. Louis Rams selected him in the seventh round of the draft. On Wednesday, he was given the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, and delivered this inspiring speech afterward:
Later in the night, ESPN broadcaster Stuart Scott was presented the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance. Scott was diagnosed with cancer several years ago. Although it went into remission in 2012, Scott was once again diagnosed in 2013. Today, he continues to fight at age 48.
Get well soon, Stuart.