In case you missed it, there were some inspirational and thoughtful moments from the 2016 ESPY awards.
1. Black Lives Matter
The night started with a Black Lives Matter tribute from superstars Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwayne Wade and LeBron James.
In addition to calling out the names of victims who lost their lives at the hands of unjustified, deadly police force, the four athletes encouraged others to make a stand, saying: “What are we doing to create change?…We all have to do better.”
2. Zaevion Dobson
The Arthur Ashe Courage Award went to the late Zaevion Dobson. If you recall, the 15-year-old high school football player lost life, protecting three high school girls from gun shots.
NBA MVP Steph Curry announced the award, calling for an end to gun violence. He said, “In an average year in America, more than 33,000 people die after getting shot by a gun…Wherever you’re from, whatever you think, whatever your politics are: What you can’t forget is that every one of those people who dies has a story.”
3. Muhammad Ali
The night also paid homage to the late Muhammad Ali with a performance from Chance the Rapper and a speech from Ali’s friend and basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Drawing parallels to today’s issues, Abdul-Jabbar reminded as how Ali was a fierce social activists, unafraid to use his celebrity to protest a cause. Abdul-Jabbar said about his friend, “[Ali] spoke fearlessly about injustice and he sacrificed tremendously for his principles…I hope his death spurs his successors to remember what truly made him the greatest.”
4. Eric Berry
Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry was honored with the “Best Comeback Athlete” award. Berry returned to this field this year after a battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma disease, which is a cancer of the lymphatic system.
In a moving speech, Berry said, “Regardless of what your circumstance is, regardless of what your diagnosis is, just keep pushing and always remember, honor your legacy, baby, and you can push through it.”
The night honored recent retirees NBA great Kobe Bryant, quarterback Peyton Manning and women’s soccer icon Abby Wambach. Many were wondering what’s next for Bryant after retirement. Coaching? Commentating? New business endeavors? Well, in both his speech and pre-show interviews, he seemed to allude to some sort of goodwill basketball involvement post professional career.
“I believe there is time for resting at the end, but for me, that time is not now,” Bryant said. “Thank you for this tremendous honor and acknowledging my basketball career, but I’m far from done. My next dream is to be honored one day for inspiring the next generation of athletes to have a dream, sacrifice for it, and never, ever rest in the middle.”
6. The Wilsons
And lastly, since we love to celebrate black love: Ciara and Russell Wilson made their first appearance as a married couple on the ESPYs red carpet.
BMWK, were you impressed with the attention both ESPN and these athletes gave the social and health issues plaguing our nation? Or did you want more?