It’s not the year for a traditional awards ceremony, but the World Wide Leader in sports is still finding a way to present its 28th annual ESPYS awards, airing Sunday night on ESPN and ESPN2. The live show will begin at 9 p.m. ET.
The two-hour event will feature many of the show’s typical awards, including the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award, the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance, the Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award and the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, among others. It will be hosted by three sport stars: three-time WNBA Champion Sue Bird, two-time World Cup Champion and Olympic medalist Megan Rapinoe, and Super Bowl Champion quarterback Russell Wilson.
According to a press release by ESPN, many elements of the show will remain consistent – “celebrating the best of the year in sports, showcasing the comedy chops of top athletes and celebrity fans, and telling the kind of inspirational, heart-swelling stories that can only come from the world of sports.”
“While this is an extraordinary time to be producing an awards show, The ESPYS has always strived to meet the moment — to tackle the issues and stories most relevant and meaningful to our athletes and their fans. This year will be no exception,” said Jeff Smith of MaggieVision Productions, who is the executive producer of The ESPYS. “There will still be sports highlights and comic relief, but this year’s show will be more focused than ever on elevating the voices of athletes and shining a light on the inspiring work they do, on the field and off.”
Throughout the night, there will be a series of “Athletes United” segments highlighting inspirational stories from throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, a tribute to Kobe Bryant featuring a performance by Snoop Dog, a powerful segment that includes various athletes addressing the Black Lives Matter movement, a gathering of Olympic icons and, apparently, a Tiger King spoof featuring Tom Brady and Eli Manning?
Here’s a sneak peak into that last one:
— Eli Manning (@EliManning) June 21, 2020
The night won’t feature the glitz and glam of the show’s typical Los Angeles red carpet (which is a shame, because I was in attendance last year – yes, humble brag – and it was really cool, especially when I got to briefly chat with Jodie Meeks). Regardless, it seems like this year’s activities will be much more focused on looking forward to the return of sports, highlighting inspiring stories in the face of an unprecedented health crisis and showcasing the various ways athletes, coaches and fans are helping lead the way toward a more tolerant world.
That’s what it’s important – in life and in sports – anyway.