Meaningful Moments Make ESPY Awards Special
July 17, 2008 11:16 AM
The Nokia Theater made its bow as the new home of the ESPYs Wednesday night in Los Angeles. While Justin Timberlake did an admirable job as the show’s host, the ESPYs tend to be remembered for special moments rather than as a show.
This year was in keeping with that tradition, with moments both funny and touching for sports fans.
Tops on the list were Will Farrell accepting an award as Tiger Woods and Brett Favre declaring that his ESPY “makes me want to play again,” as well as a terrific song-and-dance “rock opera” on the year in sports performed by Timberlake.
On the serious side, Samuel L. Jackson and Steve Nash presented the Arthur Ashe Courage Award to 1968 Olympic medalists Tommie Smith and John Carlos. The athletes raised their black-gloved fists on the medal podium during the American anthem to represent the struggle for racial equality in the U.S. and the universal struggle for basic human rights, only to be kicked off the team for their actions.
Another special moment saw former Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everett walk on stage to accept the Jimmy V ESPY for Perseverance, less than a year after suffering a paralyzing spinal cord injury. Stories like these continue to demonstrate human perseverance and make for great television, although I do wish the show would pay tribute to some of the bigger names in the industry who died, be it sportscaster Jim McKay or Redskins player Sean Taylor; it seems difficult to wrap up the year without any mention of those.
The theater itself was magnificent, despite a technical glitch on the center screen that shut the show down for 10 minutes (good thing it’s taped for airing!). As for the winners, New York and Boston represented well as did Tiger.
The show will air July 20 at 9 p.m. on ESPN. Winners are below, so don’t look if you don’t want to spoil the suspense.
The 2008 ESPYs: WINNERS
ARTHUR ASHE COURAGE AWARD: John Carlos and Tommie Smith, 1968 Olympic medalists
JIMMY V AWARD FOR PERSEVERANCE: Kevin Everett, former Buffalo Bills tight end
COMEBACK: Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers
BEST IN SPORT
FEMALE ATHLETE: Candace Parker, Tennessee Basketball/Los Angeles Sparks
MALE ATHLETE: Tiger Woods, Golf
MOMENT: “Great Sportsmanship” (Central Washington University’s Mallory Holtman and Liz Wallace, Western Oregon University’s Sara Tucholsky)
TEAM: Boston Celtics
COACH/MANAGER: Pat Summitt, Tennessee Women’s Basketball
GAME: New York Giants over New England Patriots at the Super Bowl
CHAMPIONSHIP PERFORMANCE: Tiger Woods, 2008 U.S. Open
PLAY: New York Giants’ Eli Manning’s pass to David Tyree at the Super Bowl
FINISH: Western Kentucky over Drake in the first round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, winning on a buzzer-beater by Ty Rogers
UPSET: New York Giants over New England Patriots at the Super Bowl
BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE: Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
RECORD BREAKING PERFORMANCE: Brett Favre, Green Bay Packers
SPORTS MOVIE: “Semi-Pro”
MALE COLLEGE ATHLETE: Tim Tebow, Florida football
FEMALE COLLEGE ATHLETE: Candace Parker, Tennessee basketball
MALE ATHLETE WITH A DISABILITY: Ryan Kocer, wrestling (Wagner, S.D.)
FEMALE ATHLETE WITH A DISABILITY: Shay Oberg, softball (Montana State-Billings)
INTERNATIONAL MALE ATHLETE: Rafael Nadal, tennis
INTERNATIONAL FEMALE ATHLETE: Lorena Ochoa, golf
BASEBALL PLAYER: Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees
NBA PLAYER: Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
WNBA PLAYER: Lauren Jackson, Seattle Storm
NFL PLAYER: Tom Brady, New England Patriots
NHL PLAYER: Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
MLS PLAYER: David Beckham, Los Angeles Galaxy
MALE ACTION SPORT ATHLETE: Shaun White, skateboarding/snowboarding
FEMALE ACTION SPORT ATHLETE: Gretchen Bleiler, snowboarding
BOWLER: Norm Duke
DRIVER: Jimmie Johnson
FIGHTER: Floyd Mayweather Jr., boxing
GOLFER: Tiger Woods
JOCKEY: Kent Desormeaux
OUTDOOR ATHLETE: Captain Scott Smiley, mountain climber
MALE TENNIS PLAYER: Roger Federer
FEMALE TENNIS PLAYER: Maria Sharapova
TRACK AND FIELD ATHLETE: Tyson Gay
HUMMER “LIKE NOTHING ELSE” AWARD: George Martin walks across America
UNDER ARMOUR UNDENIABLE MOMENT: Warner Robins, Ga., beats Tokyo to win the Little League World Series Championship Game with a Dalton Carriker walk-off home run in the bottom of the 8th inning (extra innings)