Hollywood and the sports world played together nicely for ESPN's 2014 ESPYS award ceremony. The mixture of stars, stand-up comedy and speeches at the annual telecast at L.A.'s Nokia Theatre created a light yet sometimes highly emotional atmosphere during Wednesday night festivities.
Rapper and one-time "Saturday Night Live" host Drake hosted the live broadcast and took jabs at several of the champions being honored in his opening monologue.
"I definitely think that hip-hop is a little more malicious than what any host is going for," Drake said of how his music career would influence him as a host. "I think we're not trying to end people's careers or make people feel bad in any way. So our night, like I said, is about being funny and about giving these guys a great time and celebrating sports."
He playfully recreated memorable scenes from the NBA finals, teaming up with former Indiana Pacer (newly signed with the Charlotte Hornets) Lance Stephenson, who gained fame for blowing in LeBron James' ear during a matchup, for the "Lance Cam."
Drake even included supposed rival and rapper Chris Brown in one of his pre-taped sketches with Clippers' Blake Griffin.
Drake also performed a trio of parody songs, which included a guest performance from crooner Brian McKnight. Drake did not leave the former Clippers owner Donald Sterling controversy out of his humor either. During the parody, the rapper performed to a remixed video of Sterling during his CNN interview and turned "Sterling Never Loved Us" into a hash tag that immediately went viral on social media.
Despite Drake's antics, the focus remained on sports accomplishments. NBA player Kevin Durant and UFC champion Ronda Rousey received the night's top honors -- male and female athlete of the year, respectively.
The night's most tearful speeches were delivered by the NFL's first openly gay drafted player Michael Sam, recipient of the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage, and Jimmy V Perseverance Award winner and ESPN SportsCenter anchor Stuart Scott, who has been battling cancer for the past seven years.
The honorees all came from the sports world, but many people in showbiz noted the overlap of the industries.
Drake touched on the growing convergence of Hollywood and the sports world during a conference call for the ESPYS last Friday. Referencing one of his rap songs, he said, "deep down we want to be them and they want to be us as far as musicians and athletes goâ¦ We inspire each other, and I think that's what really ties music and sports together."
Jamie Anderson, who took home the female actions sports athlete and female Olympian awards, also spoke to Variety about the relationship and the ESPYS.
"The entertainers and actors are people we see on TV and in the movies," Anderson said. "It's that one day of the year that they come and hang out with us and enter into our world. It really shows how closely Hollywood and the sports world are tied to one another."
Some weighed in on the possible sports events that could be made into B.O. hits. Actor Shemar Moore said he would like to see a movie on this summer's World Cup, especially the final game against Argentina and Germany.
"I know Americans don't love soccer all the time because we want points and dunks and touchdown dances, but to see the countries come together and the drama of it all is so much fun," Moore told Variety.
Actor Anthony Anderson's choice of movie focused on an even lesser known sporting event in the U.S. - Canadian curling.
"I like to see dudes with a broom on ice screaming at a flat bowling ball," Anderson told Variety. "I want to know what that's all about."
COMPLETE LIST OF ESPYS 2014 WINNERS:
Best Breakthrough Athlete: Richard Sherman
Shemar Moore, Anthony Anderson Pitch Sports Movies at 2014 ESPYS
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