Last night’s 2014 ESPYS were a pleasant surprise, sprinkled with moments ranging from poignant and touching to just downright funny. While the ESPYS are usually a generally enjoyable awards show to watch, I must say that last night’s was more memorable than others from recent years.
In particular, there were three main scene stealers of the night, who either left us motivated, inspired of just dieing of laughter.
Michael Sam’s acceptance speech for the 2014 Arthur Ashe Courage Award left many viewers, both at the event and those watching from home teary eyed and with a new level of acceptance and understanding. The first team All-American defensive lineman from the University of Missouri announced that he was gay in February, just three months before being drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round of the NFL Draft.
Overcome with emotion at times during his speech, Sam discussed his love of football and how Ashe had inspired him. He also shared a moving story about helping a young woman who considered committing suicide because the pressure of coming out to her family was too much to bear.
The award is in honor of Arthur Ashe, a top tennis player of his time who publicly announced he had HIV and went on to found the Arthur Ashe Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS as well as the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health.
Stuart Scott showed us what true grit, determination and positive outlook looks like throughout his battle with cancer and last night, during his speech in acceptance of the 2014 Jimmy V Perseverance Award. His relentless battle with the life threatening disease since his diagnosis in 2007, all while he fights to still live a full life with his career on screen and his family behind the scenes shows the true strength of the human spirit.
The award is named after the beloved Jimmy Valvano, a college basketball coach and broadcaster who in 1993 died from adenocarcinoma 8 days after giving one of the most inspirational and well-known speeches to ever come out of the ESPYS.
Surrounding these 2 touching moments, the host of the night, Drake, was a comedic force to be reckoned with. His appearance on SNL let the world know he had a pretty good sense of humor, but his ability to hold his own by hosting an awards show has solidified the fact that the rapper can make us laugh. From his outfit choices to his spoken work ode to Skylar Diggins (Can I Dig In?) to his spoof of Manny Pacquiao to his hilarious skit with Drake and Blake Griffin (and who can forget his latest hit…Side Chicks) Drakes comedic timing and impressions gave everyone more than a few good laughs.