What a night! The 2014 ESPYS held Wednesday, July 16, at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live, was chock-full of inspiring and emotional moments from the sports world’s biggest and brightest figures. Us Weekly recaps the five most memorable moments from ESPN’s annual awards show.
ESPN anchor Stuart Scott received a standing ovation from the entire crowd inside the Nokia Theatre while accepting the Jimmy V Perseverance Award from Kiefer Sutherland. Scott, who has been battling cancer since 2007, delivered an eloquent, inspiring and moving speech, which left many audience members in tears.
“I just got out of the hospital,” Scott, 48, told the stunned audience. “I had four surgeries in the span of seven days. I had tubes running through every part of my body. As of Sunday, I didn’t even know if I could make it here. I couldn’t fight. But the doctors and nurses could; the people that I loved and my friends and family, they could. This whole fight, this journey thing, is not a solo venture, this is something that requires support.”
“When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer,” the SportsCenter staple said. “You beat cancer by how you live, while you live and the manner in which you live.” Scott went on to say he “can’t ever give up because I can’t leave my daughters [Taelor and Sydni]… You are my heartbeat. I am standing on this stage tonight because of you.”
The NFL’s first openly gay player accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and delivered an emotional speech, which left him—as well as viewers—crying.
ESPN showed a clip of Sam’s journey as a star college football player at the Unviersity of Missouri and NFL draft hopeful, who was picked up by the St. Louis Rams in May. “This year I had a lot of experience being part of something bigger than myself,” Sam said of coming out. “At times, I felt like I’d been living in a massive storm, but the lessons I’ve learned: love, respect and being true to yourself—will never leave me.”
He went on to thank his former teammates, current teammates and coaches, family, friends, and boyfriend Vito Cammisano, who joined Sam—hand in hand—on the red carpet of the 2014 ESPYS. “I promise to spend the rest of my life trying to live up to this honor and trying to become the best football player I can,” Sam said.
3. Josh Sweeney Honored
Chills! U.S. Paralympic star, Sgt. Josh Sweeney, was honored with the first-ever Pat Tillman Award for Service on Wednesday night. Sweeney, a retired Marine who lost his legs while serving in Afghanistan, inspired legions of fans after he scored the goal for the U.S. Sled Hockey Team that won gold against Russia at the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi.
“This is a tremendous honor and, hopefully, this award will help others like me realize that nothing is impossible without hard work and dedication,” Sweeney told the audience.
4. Drake’s Lance Cam
Us loves the Lance Cam! Drake referred back to a viral video clip from last month, featuring Charlotte Hornet player Lance Stephenson blowing in former Miami Heat star LeBron James‘ ear on the court. The evening’s host created the “Lance Cam” and went down to the audience to blow in Stephenson’s ear and make fun of the meme.
Even the bottles had a shelf life! The former enemies made fun of their crazy 2012 bar brawl in a video sketch. The skit included NBA star Blake Griffin and played off a memorable scene from Steve Martin‘s Little Shop of Horrors.
Tell Us: What was your favorite moment from the show?
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