The sports world celebrated its most glamorous night, honoring the year’s greatest athletes and moments in sports, at the 2014 ESPY Awards Wednesday night in Los Angeles.
It was both a night of laughter with Drake hosting and emotional moments with touching speeches by openly gay NFL hopeful Michael Sam and ESPN anchor Stuart Scott.
Check out some of the night’s best moments:
Grammy-winner Drake kicked off the night with a funny, if not bordering on uncomfortable, opening monologue, poking fun at some of sports’ biggest stars and most infamous. ”We’re just a couple hundred yards from Staples Center, which also happens to be as close as Donald Sterling’s allowed to get,” the rapper said during his opener about the banned L.A. Clippers owner.
But it was when Drake performed that he really shined. In a hilarious skit as boxer Manny Pacquiao, he sang “Let It Go” from “Frozen.” He also debuted three new songs especially for ESPN’s ESPY Awards. The first was “Honorable Mention,” in which he mocked Macklemore, singing, “Real talent doesn’t always win championships/ Like real music doesn’t always win Grammys.” He then gave shout-outs to other No. 2′s, like Kevin Durant, Danica Patrick and Colin Kaepernick.
In “Side Pieces,” he got an assist from singer Brian McKnight, while crooning that most of the athletes probably had girls on the side wherever they traveled. He wrapped the evening with another dig at Sterling in ”#SterlingNeverLovedUs,” which he opened with a picture of Sterling’s friend, V. Stiviano, whom he called “the side piece of the year.”
2. Drake and Chris Brown Bury the Hatchet
Speaking of hilarious skits, Drake appeared in one with his former rival Chris Brown. In the skit, Drake is on a surgical table waiting to get his appendix out, when Los Angeles Clippers star Blake Griffin pops up in scrubs and a mask. “Oh, my God, you’re the surgeon?” Drake groaned. “Oh, I’m not the surgeon,” Griffin said. “He is.” The camera pans over to Brown holding some scary looking implements as he shouts, ”YOLO, motherf*****,” bringing a huge roar from the crowd. Guess that bottle-tossing altercation is behind them.
3. Michael Sam Speech
One of the most inspirational speeches of the night came from Michael Sam when he received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. In May, Sam became the first openly gay football player to be selected in the NFL draft. “This year I had a lot of experience being part of something bigger than myself,” Sam said, fighting back tears during most of his speech. “At times, I felt like I’d been living in a massive storm, but the lessons learned — love, respect and being true to yourself — will never leave me.”
4. Stuart Scott
The other tearful moment of the night came when ESPN “SportsCenter” anchor Stuart Scott received the Jimmy V Perseverance Award, in honor of the late N.C. State basketball coach Jim Valvano, who inspired millions with his courageous battle against cancer in 1993. Scott was honored for his ongoing battle with cancer, which was first diagnosed in November of 2007.
Making note of Valvano’s line, “Don’t ever give up” from his legendary speech at the first ESPYs, Scott said, “I know I have a responsibility to never give up. I’m not special — I just listened to what the man said.” He ended his moving speech asking his daughter to join him on stage to give him a hug because he “needed one.”
After his speech, celebrities and athletes, including “Grey’s Anatomy” actor Jesse Williams and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, tweeted their support for Scott.
5. Maria Sharapova towering over Floyd Mayweather
Tennis giant Maria Sharapova showed off some comedic chops when she presented the award for best game beside world champion boxer Floyd Mayweather. After Drake introduced the boxer to red carpet and trumpet fanfare, reading his accomplishments from a scroll, complete with British accent, Sharapova showed her fellow presenter a little less respect. The 6-foot-2 tennis pro boxed out the 5-foot-8 boxer, before leaning on him, drawing laughter and applause.
ESPN and ABC News are both owned by the Disney Co.