July 18, 2008 — -- Justin Timberlake can seemingly tackle any show business challenge: From song to dance to comedy, he's a triple threat. But he faced a famously tough crowd this week -- some of the world's biggest and best athletes -- at the 16th Annual ESPY Awards, which he hosted in Los Angeles Wednesday night and which will air Sunday on ESPN.
The Grammy Award-winning singer met backstage with "Good Morning America's" Robin Roberts, who attended the Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Awards to present the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance.
Timberlake, posing in various athletic stances, entertained Roberts backstage.
"My friend, you stuck the landing! It was a perfect 10! You stuck the landing," Roberts said of Timberlake's antics on stage.
Timberlake had entertained the sports crowd, saying, "I decided to go do some research and find out what's going on this year in the world of sports."
He then proceeded to show a video of an angry Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State University football coach, during a news conference, into which he cut spoof video of himself as a reporter:
"Were you or were you not a fan of 'N Sync'?" Timberlake "grilled" Gundy, following up with: "Why do you have a picture of the Jonas Brothers on your desk? We've all seen it! It's right under your Hannah Montana poster."
After the show, Roberts asked Timberlake how he felt about his performance.
"I thought it was fun," Timberlake said. "The bottom line is, I said, 'OK, I got all these athletes in the room.' I mean, at least 40 percent of the crowd is, like, world-famous, legendary athletes. Brett Favre is in the crowd. That dude is my hero."
And his respect for Favre, it seems, is mutual. "Watching that makes me want to play again," Favre said after watching one of Timberlake's comedy clips.
Backstage, Timberlake told Roberts that, "I am starstruck. I mean, I grew up such a sports nut, and I'm still such a sports nut. If we would have had a conversation when I was 14 years old, I mean you could not convince me that I was not going to play in the NBA."
The NBA didn't pan out for Timberlake, but music definitely has. With solo record sales of more than 18 million worldwide, in addition to sales of more than 50 million as one of the two lead singers for 'N Sync, he's doing pretty well for himself.
Timberlake introduced Roberts, along with ESPN Zone's Stuart Scott, to present the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance to Kevin Everett, the former Buffalo Bills football player who many feared would remain paralyzed from the neck down after suffering a spinal cord injury in a 2007 game against the Denver Broncos. His doctor at the time considered his injury "potentially lethal and grave."
"Each year, we honor those who defy overwhelming odds and demonstrate the passion for life embodied by coach Valvano," Roberts said onstage, referring to the late Jimmy Valvano, a former North Carolina State University coach whose underdog team won the 1983 NCAA Basketball Tournament.
In his acceptance speech to a standing ovation, Everett said he was "just real happy that I can be here standing before everybody. I want to thank my fans for all of your support and prayers. You know, prayer is powerful. Man."
And standing before them was, indeed, a triumph. "I couldn't move my arms or my legs or nothing," Everett said as a clip played of his accident.
Timberlake and Roberts discussed the heartfelt moment backstage.
"I mean, that was just this last season, you know," Timberlake said of Everett's devastating accident. "And I remember, you know; I watch all the games. It was a moment where you, literally, as it was happening, sort of didn't know what to think."
"And, now, to watch how far he's come in such a short amount of time," Timberlake said, shaking his head. "Unbelievable."
"Yeah," Roberts agreed.
You can see the ESPY awards on Sunday, July 20. For more information on the ESPY Awards, Click Here.