Some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment congregated inside Los Angeles’ Nokia Theatre Wednesday night for the 2013 edition of the ESPYs, the biggest and most prestigious sports awards show on the planet. Or, as the show’s host Jon Hamm called it, “The world’s largest gathering of people wearing sunglasses indoors.” Or, as it should be called, the “oh-my-god-the-Miami-Heat-are-the-best-ever-let’s-give-them-all-the-awards” show. Suffice it to say, if ESPN would have put LeBron James in the “Best Jockey” category, he would’ve won that, too.
In all seriousness, LeBron and his Heat teammates were basking in honors, taking home five of the six awards for which they were nominated. And the only reason they didn’t sweep all six categories is due to South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney’s near-decapitation of a Michigan running back during the Outback Bowl, which won him “Best Play.”
With the majority of the categories being voted on by the fans, very little room was left for speculation as to who would win what, virtually sucking every bit of suspense that could have possibly existed out of the show. For real, with fans at the helm, who, other than Tiger Woods is going to win “Best Male Golfer?” And how about “Best Female College Athlete?” Does anyone even know the name of a female college athlete other than Brittney Griner?
But, of the over 30 athletes who paraded across the stage, the two award recipients who stood out among the pack belonged to no team and had no endorsements. Robin Roberts — former ESPN sportscaster, current Good Morning America anchor, and breast cancer survivor — received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, and Jack Hoffman (a 7-year-old brain cancer patient from Atkinson, Neb. who ran a 69-yard touchdown at Nebraska’s spring game) nabbed the hardware for “Best Moment.”
Aside from the few heartwarming instances, the real purpose for tuning in wasn’t because all of the sports stars, it was because of Hamm. Why? Because it’s Jon-freaking-Hamm. What more need be said? Who can’t appreciate roguishly good looks and a great jawline? Plus, you know, Mad Men. Even the yearly intro — comprised entirely of contrived, pseudo attempts at humor by poking fun at nearly everyone in the building — was made palatable by his presence. Especially his jab at Dwight Howard, which may have been the highlight of the night.
Sprinkle in an uncomfortable, offbeat, entirely unfunny bit by Saturday Night Live comic Jay Pharoah depicting Jay-Z, a few forgettable laughs from Bill Hader and Jack McBrayer, and you have yourself an awards show.