Tha Sports Junkies 101

A Reflection on the 2016 Espy Awards

Disney/Via Flickr


Exactly one week ago today sports fans around the world tuned in for their glitz and glam equivalent of the “Academy Awards.”   Heck it was even predated by a bonafide red carpet pre-show, gifting us with the opportunity to see the sharp dressed and questionable styles of our generation.  Millions turned their tvs and computers on to watch the “2016 Espy Awards” as we honored our sports athletes and personalities, of both past and present.

On a night filled with laughter, emotions, tears and… John Cena, we watched as we honored some of the biggest stars in the industry.  Retiring legends Kobe Bryant, Peyton Manning, and Abby Wambach were presented the 2016 “Icon Award” this year.  There also was a heartfelt and tearful tribute to the late pioneer coach Pat Summitt.



Per usual, one of the highlights of the night was the handing out of the “Jimmy V Perseverance Award.”  Recipient of this year’s award was TNT NBA Analyst Craig Sager, for his courageous battle with leukemia.

Sager, dressed in his patented flashy and colorful suit, stood boldly in front of his family, friends and colleagues vowing to “… continue to keep fighting, sucking the marrow out of life as life sucks the marrow out of me.” However, the moment that unexpectedly stole the show was this year’s opening number.

Wednesday night’s festivities were opened by four brothers in arms, Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul, standing resolutely in front of a silent and awaiting Microsoft Theater.  As the four stood, dressed in black suits, waiting to address their peers we sat on the edge of our seats anxiously hanging by their silence.  We didn’t know what they had to say, but boy did we know that it was going to be powerful, and powerful it was.

The four star athletes opened the awards show by solemnly calling their fellow athletes to stand together to help stop the violence that has recently taken over our media streams.  On a night that we honored the late, great Muhammad Ali it couldn’t have been a more fitting stage to implore for social change.

It was one of those moments that transcended sports or our thoughts on each player’s individual game.  It was a moment we were able to use sports as a prism in which to view our society and hopefully make a change in our communities.

Respected and award winning journalist T.J. Holmes tweeted, “The start of the show was not a network idea. LeBron, Carmelo, CP3, and D-Wade approached the network and asked to open the show.”  Athletes’ standing for social issues is not a new trend and the four men are predated by the likes of Ali, Jim Brown and Lew Alcindor (now Kareem Abdul-Jabbar).  However, with today’s media and immediate consumption of news it is just as imperative as ever for our major personalities to stand for issues and push for change.

Their words carry serious weight but it is all of our responsibilities to follow their lead.  We can’t all hit a step back three in the face of a defender, or chase down a breakaway layup with a block, or make that perfect behind the back assist, but we all have a voice and we can make a difference and we can follow their lead.