NFL's Devon Still delivers emotional tribute at ESPYS, praises daughter battling cancer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Host Joel McHale zinged an audience full of star athletes at the ESPY Awards, using his monologue to skewer the rich and famous at the show honoring the year’s best moments in sports.
The actor-comic noted the audience was “all dressed up in the suits you usually wear to your depositions.”
McHale touched on the frenzied courtship of free-agent center DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers, saying, “And they said there’d never be a black bachelor.”
Even Triple Crown winner American Pharoah wasn’t let off the hook. McHale said the horse “will spend his offseason like any athlete, siring children.”
Here are some memorable moments from the show Wednesday night at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles:
JIMMY V PERSEVERANCE
Devon Still of the Cincinnati Bengals and his 5-year-old daughter, Leah, who is struggling with cancer were honored for their strength in the face of serious personal struggle. Doctors didn’t allow the child to travel from her Ohio home, so Still took the stage and gave a moving speech about her.
PAT TILLMAN AWARD
Iraq war veteran and Purple Heart recipient Danielle Green accepted the award named for Tillman, who left the NFL to enlist in the Army and was killed by friendly fire. Green balanced the trophy using her artificial left arm and was saluted by a standing ovation. “Ask yourself, ‘What’s my purpose, what’s my passion, what do I want my legacy to be?'” the former Notre Dame basketball player said. “Not all of us are Pat Tillman, but we can all find a purpose on this Earth larger than ourselves.”
CAITLYN JENNER REAX
Jenner accepted the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage after a video detailing her transition to becoming a woman was shown. She received a standing ovation, although on the red carpet there was mixed reaction to her. Former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield said, “I just know that’s Bruce Jenner and I’ll leave it at that.” Soccer player Christen Press said all her family and friends wanted to talk about was Jenner. “She’s definitely stealing all the headlines,” Press said. Mo’ne Davis, the 14-year-old Little League pitcher, said Jenner was brave for revealing she is transgender at age 65. “I know a lot of people give her a hard time about it, but just for her family to give her that support is amazing,” the teenager said.
The Golden State Warriors star claimed two trophies for the first time — best male athlete and best NBA player, having led his team to the league championship. “I’m 6-2, 180 pounds soaking wet, so it’s really nice to be called an athlete once in a while,” said Curry, who became a father again last week when his second daughter was born. Riley Curry, his oldest girl, made the show’s highlight reel for her amusing postgame appearances during the playoffs, including telling her dad to be quiet during a news conference.
The UFC champion fighter won best female athlete for the second year in a row, beating out Serena Williams, Lindsey Vonn and UConn basketball player Breanna Stewart. Presenter J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans joked, “Please don’t beat me up” before announcing Rousey’s name. “I want to thank all the women athletes who are here for being the change we want to see in the world,” she said. “I’m living such a lucky and blessed life and I’m trying so hard to deserve it.”
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