7 moments we loved from the 2016 ESPYs

  /  07.14.2016

LOS ANGELES—Last night (July 13), the 2016 ESPYs went down at the Microsoft Theater to recognize individual and team achievement in the sports arena and brought out the likes of Usher (who did not follow the rules of the Dance Cam), Lisa Leslie (who did), Justin Timberlake, the newly-wedded Ciara and Russell Wilson, Vice President Joe Biden and more. And while the show started off on an (unplanned) serious note, with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony calling on their fellow athletes to renounce all violence and help rebuild their communities, here are 7 more moments we loved.

When Hannibal Burress took a jab at poor Steph Curry’s sneaks’

Last month, when a photo of Steph Curry’s “Chef” sneaker, made by Under Armour, hit the web, the internet’s roasting was so merciless and vitriolic, it brought new life (and a whole new meaning) to the phrase: “What are thossse?” And comedian Hannibal Burress made sure we didn’t forget it when he took to the stage to tell us about the “future of sports for comedic purposes” and referred to his white Crocs as the “Steph Curry 34s.” All the cry-laugh emojis.

When Richard Rodgers made a joke that no one (somehow) saw coming

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ Hail Mary won for Best Pass (see above), but when he took the stage he rightfully let tight end Richard Rodgers speak since he, well, caught it. And that’s when Rodgers #2 went for some wordplay that was, admittedly, the most ripe of all the low-hanging fruit:

“First off, I just want to thank God; Hail Marys aren’t possible without him.”

Slow clap and touché.

When Kobe Bryant was, admittedly, like “one of these things is not like the other”

This year marked the first time the ESPYs honored three retiring athletes. Peyton Manning, Abby Wambach and Kobe Bryant all received the Icon Award, but it was Bryant who made his speech last and, in an moment of uncharacteristic humility, playfully recognized that maybe his wasn’t as well deserved:

“Abby decided to retire after a compelling World Cup victory. Manning hung up his cleats after an impressive Super Bowl win. For me, I tend to do things a little differently. I felt an impressive 17-for-65 season would be a bold statement to wrap up my 20-year career.”

This Lakers season was one of the worst in the NBA, and the worst in the team’s history.

When we were all reminded that, yeah, maybe Abby Wambach is more badass than the boys

The Icons segment included a nod to the 2010 World Cup qualifier game against Mexico that left Wambach with a serious head injury after a collision. The solution? To staple it on-field and wrap it in duct tape, of course (see above). Wambach returned to the game.

Even Justin Timberlake, who presented the awards, stopped mid-speech after seeing the clip: “They just stapled her head! Sorry, that just hit me.”

When LeBron James clowned that teammate whats-his-face

Upon the Cleveland Cavaliers taking the stage to accept their award for Best Team, LeBron James was nice enough to let his other teammates speak for once, offering the mic to JR Smith first and then, wait, what, who is that? When Channing Frye—who was only traded to the team in February—settled in front of the stand, Lebron jokingly (or in a very sad slip of the tongue) publicly shamed the poor guy: “They don’t know you.”

Frye’s only comeback? “My ring just as shiny, it don’t matter.” To be fair, Frye played very few minutes in the first three games of the NBA Finals, and didn’t appear at all in the last three. Let’s hope though, for the sake of Frye’s ego, it was all in good fun.

When Chance the Rapper reminded us that he’s also, uh, the Singer

Andra Day fulfilled the first performance duties of the night singing “Rearview,” (see below) backed by a string trio, for the show’s In Memoriam segment that honored, among others, the late Pat Summitt (the Tennessee women’s basketball coach who died earlier this month), Dave Mirra, Kimbo Slice and Yogi Berra. And though the montage ended with Muhammad Ali, the legendary boxer earned his own tribute, which, sung by Chance the Rapper, closed the show entirely. That’s right, sung.

Accompanied by a gospel choir and his frequent collaborators Donnie Trumpet, Jamila Woods, Peter Cottontale and Teddy Jackson, Chance debuted a new song for the Champ and hit notes we didn’t know he had in him: “Ain’t nowhere greater/ Ain’t nowhere brighter/ Ain’t nowhere better/ Ain’t no one prettier/ Ain’t no one wiser/ Ain’t no one better/… I was a rock ‘n’ roller back in my day, but now I’m just a rock.”

Literally this entire tribute to Zaevion Dobson

Steph Curry was tasked with presenting the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage posthumously to Zaevion Dobson, the 15-year-old Fulton High School football player from Knoxville, Tennessee who was killed last December when trying to protect friends from random gunfire. The tribute included interviews with Dobson’s mother, brothers, friends and coach and, as it was narrated by actor Michael B. Jordan from a first-person point-of-view, was a tearfully emotional but well-deserved honor. President Obama himself appeared in the clip to give praise to the lost life, saying:

“[Zaevion] gave his life to save theirs — an act of heroism a lot bigger than anything we should ever expect from a 15-year-old.”

And when his mother Zenobia took the stage to accept the award on his behalf, she called out the exact members of the audience who were being recognized that night and asked that they use their influence to take a stand against gun violence:

“All the athletes in this room, you have a lot of power, people look up to you. I know Zaevion did. I urge you to think tonight about why he died and what you can do to prevent the next innocent young man or woman from being lost as well.” Stay woke.

The 2016 ESPYs Winners List

Male Athlete: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

Female Athlete: Breanna Stewart, UConn

Record-Breaking Performance: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

Breakthrough Athlete: Jake Arrieta, Chicago Cubs

Play: Aaron Rodgers’ Hail Mary to Richard Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

Moment: City of Cleveland wins first title in 52 years

Upset: Holly Holm over Ronda Rousey, UFC

Comeback Athlete: Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs

Team: Cleveland Cavaliers

Championship Performance: LeBron James

Game: NBA Finals, Game 7

Coach: Tyronn Lue, Cleveland Cavaliers

NBA Player: LeBron James

MLB Player: Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals

NFL Player: Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

NHL Player: Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

Male College Athlete: Buddy Hield, Oklahoma

Female College Athlete: Breanna Stewart, UConn

Male Tennis Player: Novak Djokovic

Female Tennis Player: Serena Williams

Male Action Sports Athlete: Ryan Dungey

Female Action Sports Athlete: Jamie Anderson

Male Athlete with a Disability: Richard Browne

Female Athlete with a Disability: Tatyana McFadden

International Athlete: Cristiano Ronaldo, soccer

Best MLS player: Sebastian Giovinco, Toronto FC

WNBA Player: Maya Moore, Minnesota Lynx

Driver: Kyle Busch

Male Golfer: Jordan Spieth

Female Golfer: Lydia Ko

Jockey: Mario Gutierrez

Bowler: Jason Belmonte

Fighter: Conor McGregor

We were at the red carpet before the ESPYs began, which you can check out below.

Insider Access | 2016 ESPY Awards red carpet



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