NBA stars Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks), Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers), Dwayne Wade (Chicago Bulls) and Lebron James (Cleveland Cavaliers) opened the show with an acknowledgement of the Black Lives Matter movement and a call to action for professional athletes to lead the charge in their communities. “It’s time to look in the mirror and ask ourselves,” James said. “What are we doing to create change?”
If you were looking for an uplifting moment, Craig Sager — the Turner sports reporter/cancer survivor who received the Jimmy V Award from Vice President Joe Biden — came through with an outlook as bright as the patterned blazers for which he’s known.
Sad but true: This clunker of a bit, featuring comedian Hannibal Buress pretending to be visiting from the futrue, relied heavily on the idea that we’d find the notion of pro golfer Jordan Spieth changing his first name to Keith hee-larious.
While accepting the award for Best Comeback Player, the Kansas City Chiefs’ Eric Berry — who missed part of last season because of cancer treatments but who played every game this season — cited the strength of fellow “fighters” like Sports Center‘s Stuart Scott, Good Morning America‘s Robin Roberts and Leah Still, daughter of NFL star Devon Still.
BEST (AND SADDEST)
A moving taped piece honoring Zaevion Dobson, a high school football player who died in 2015 while shielding two friends from random gunfire, was narrated by Michael B. Jordan (Creed) and was played before the teen was posthumously awarded the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage. His mother, Zenobia, and brothers Zackelyn and Markastin accepted the award on his behalf. (Watch the tribute here.)
Too bad Golden State Warriors guard Stephan Curry couldn’t have daughter Riley with him to accept the trophy for Best Record-Breaking Performance. Not that Curry wasn’t great, but the scene-stealing kiddo did so much for his post-game press conferences, there’s no way she wouldn’t have livened up the ceremony, too.
A taped piece lampooning retired Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning’s preference to send handwritten letters delivered funny cameos from Patriots QB Tom Brady, Saturday Night Live Svengali Lorne Michaels and more. (And we’d pay good money to watch former Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter take Manning up on that offer of a Red Lobster groupon.) Watch the video here.
Skier Lindsey Vonn’s shoulder streamers might look good on the slopes, but what were they doing up there while she was presenting?