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The Curry Family on the ESPY Red Carpet, Megan Rapinoe attends the 2022 ESPY Awards
Left: Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic, Right: Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images

The ESPY room is a tough crowd for any host. Athletes aren’t known for their affable or quick-to-laugh responses to jokes made at their expense. It can be a challenging room to work and a challenging watch for at-home viewers.

Cringe moments are unavoidable at the ESPYs, as are tears, and this year’s show had its fair share of both. Here’s looking at you, awkward Megan Rapinoe speech, and you, Title IX “celebration” that felt more mournful and infuriation-inducing than celebratory. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one going, “what the hell is happening” during the broadcast. I also couldn’t have been the only one babbling through ugly tears asking for my husband to please hand me a Kleenex.

Viewers may not agree on whether Steph Curry slayed his opening monologue, but viewers of the 2022 ESPY Awards can probably agree that Russell Wilson and Ciara looked blindingly stunning. So while I could certainly write a piece on the show’s emotional and devastatingly timely “celebration” of Title IX, the necessary focus on WNBA powerhouse Brittney Griner, or the goosebump-inducing moment when Jimmy V Award for perseverance recipient Dick Vitale asked everyone in the room to stand if someone they love has battled cancer (that really took my breath away) — I want to talk about fashion. I want to escape from the stress-inducing news cycle sports isn’t even free from, and I want us, yes, you, my lovely reader, and me, to feast on fashion.

Fashion and Sports? Not the Different Worlds You’d Expect

Russell Wilson and Ciara attend the 2022 ESPYs at Dolby Theatre
Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Fashion and sports, they go together like a peanut butter and chocolate chip sandwich. Delicious, surprisingly well-matched, not something everyone’s heading to their pantry to make; but somehow perfectly made for each other.

Fashion tends to get hitched to Hollywood, the music industry, Oscar gowns, Golden Globe tuxes, plunging neckline green Grammy dresses and far-out movie premiere ensembles. But sports have been influencing fashion for decades. The 1960s brought us dapper influence from icons like Muhammed Ali and Wilt Chamberlain. The 70s blessed us with funky fashion swag from legends like Walt Frazier, Dr. J, Billie Jean King and mini, tight, plunging everything. The 80s gifted us the magic of Magic, windbreaker jumpsuits, Starter jackets & neon extravaganzas. The 90s influenced an entire generation thanks to sports celebs like Shaq, Jeter, Tyson, Rodman, the Fab Five, Andre Agassi, MJ and Deion Sanders on top of introducing the historic Williams sisters — there wasn’t a shortage of flash or trend-setting athletes to inspire.

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Social media elevated sports fashion in the 2000s, thanks in part to today’s carpal tunnel refreshing thumbs. We are more connected to the athletes we love, and our leagues and teams are embracing players’ love for fashion more than ever. Arriving at the field or locker room has become sport’s great catwalk and thanks to Instagram stories, reels & TikTok, fans have a front-row seat. Eat your heart out, Anna Wintour.

Wednesday night, when fans across the country relaxed into their worn-to-perfection lazy-boys, they weren’t just stoked to see the greatest shooter of all time, four-time NBA Champ, and recent Finals MVP host for the first time. Living rooms across America were bustling with “oooh, I love that dress!”, “Damn he’s slaying that tux!” or, “What on earth are they wearing?!”, because let’s be real, we’ve all got a little Joan Rivers in us.

I find it wild, and a missed opportunity frankly, that E! didn’t air ESPYs red carpet coverage outside of the Dolby Theatre. So instead, I pulled up YouTube Hosted by Christine Williamson and Ros Gold-Onwude and streamed my red carpet award show fix. Here are some of my favorite carpet and broadcast looks.

Best Looks of the 2022 ESPY Awards

Ayesha Curry, Ryan Carson Curry, Riley Elizabeth Curry, and Stephen Curry attend the 2022 ESPYs at Dolby Theatre
Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Let’s kick it off with none other than the ESPY host’s fam, because they delivered. The Curry family’s red carpet look was straight fire. Ayesha Curry was a vision in black and white (and living in those Mônot/Jimmy Choo shoes), but Riley eclipsed them all, thankfully, because Steph’s red carpet look seemed very “The Rock turtleneck” to me.

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Allyson Felix

Allyson Felix was serving some dramatic flair with her black dress from Greta Constantine.

Suni Lee

Olympic Gold Medalist Suni Lee perfectly rocking gold. I mean what else would she wear?!

Odell Beckham Jr.

Zydn Beckham, Odell Beckham Jr. and Lauren Wood attend the 2022 ESPYs
Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

I wasn’t expecting a baby to be on my fashion radar, but lucky for all of us OBJ brought his son to the show, and we all were blessed with straight up baby dapperness.

Klay Thompson

Klay is one of the most likable men in sports and he not only won “Best Comeback Athlete” that evening, but he won in fashion. This look may be my favorite men’s look of the entire night.

Nneka Ogwumike & Chiney Ogwumike

Nneka Ogwumike and Chiney Ogwumike attend the 2022 ESPY Awards
Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images

Sisters and Los Angeles Sparks powerhouses Nneka Ogwumike and Chiney Ogwumike were more than sparks, they were straight fire.

Megan Rapinoe

Megan Rapinoe attends the 2022 ESPYs
Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images

RELATED: Megan Rapinoe & Sue Bird Are the Ultimate Olympic Power Couple

Megan Rapinoe won the “Best Play” award for her corner kick and say what you want about her acceptance speech (and I know there’s a lot to say), but her ensemble was giving me life. I loved her Gucci silk blazer embellished with crystals paired with black flared trousers.

Lindsey Vonn

Olympic skiing legend Lindsey Vonn was chic, classic, and somehow made her nearly nude-colored gown, paired with pony and natural beach look makeup appear absolutely effortless.

Chloe Kim

Chloe Kim attends the 2022 ESPYs at Dolby Theatre
Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Another Olympian, gold-medal-winning snowboarder Chloe Kim looked fierce in bright, cobalt blue Versace with a high slit.

Von Miller

Von Miller attends the 2022 ESPYs at Dolby Theatre
Photo by Momodu Mansaray/WireImage

I adore a bold statement piece and Bills linebacker, Von Miller, delivered. Why aren’t more people talking about this?

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Eileen Gu

Eileen Gu attends the 2022 ESPYs at Dolby Theatre
Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

First let me say, I LOVE a jumpsuit. And Olympian Eileen Gu packed star power in her feathered black stunner. It’s no surprise to me that Eileen Gu won both Best Breakthrough Athlete and Best Female Action Sports Athlete, and after seeing her, it’s no longer a surprise that she has IMG models listed on her Instagram bio. Model good looks, Gold medal Olympian, ESPY winner, Stanford intellect, man what can’t this woman do, and she’s only 18?!

While I have you all fangirling over Eileen Gu, let’s wrap up our ESPY fashion fawning with an unpopular opinion. I loved Curry’s mint green suit. I found it far superior to his black and white turtleneck tux combo on the red carpet. Maybe it’s because I love bold fashion choices, maybe it’s because I love Steph Curry, regardless I applaud the look. Have I lost all my credibility now? I mean it was better than the tracksuit.

MORE: The Best and Worst Dressed from the 2022 NBA Draft’s Red Carpet

Sydney Van Gorp is a freelance writer and creative empath residing in Southern California. Her fondest sports memories include attending history-making moments like the last game ever played at The Cathedral & Derek Jeter's too-good-to-be-true final at-bat in pinstripes. Arrowhead is one of her happy places, yes, she can name five players on the team, and under no circumstance will she wear glittery or bedazzled team anything.
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