Celebrity award shows are criticized as irreverent displays, offering society’s elite a chance to pat themselves on the back while the world votes, and then watches. As each ceremony passes, two questions come out of every celebrity award show: what were the political statements, and who was the best dressed?
On Wednesday night, the 2018 ESPY Awards struck a different tone. Despite race car driver Danica Patrick‘s lackluster performance as the show’s host, the ESPYs honored people within the sports world whose accomplishments echoed louder off the field than on it. The message of the “power of sports” was put on display, which included a tribute to three coaches lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school, as well as Aly Raisman and the women who stood up and exposed sexual predator Larry Nassar.
Positivity reigned supreme inside the Microsoft Theater in Hollywood, California, and fans were left primed for the upcoming sports year to get underway. Divisional races and Wild Card bids are ready to get underway in the MLB, NFL and college football training camps are right around the corner, and the final few pieces of the NBA free agency chessboard are on the move.
A new year in sports is upon us, folks.
Before we let the 2017-18 year become a distant memory, let’s fall into the awards ceremony trap and talk about who made bold statements in ESPYs red carpet fashion.
JaVale McGee, Los Angeles Lakers
An NBA world champion, a Los Angeles Laker, and a fashion icon. JaVale McGee stepped out in his rose-accented suit welcoming the attention. But the Gucci fanny pack? We’re talking about an entirely different level of fashion. JaVale is full of surprises, and I’m sure he had all kinds stowed away in his fanny pack, too.
Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz
“Spida” Mitchell took home the ESPY for Breakthrough Player of the Year, but his spider-themed jacket took home the ESPY for breakthrough ensemble. You don’t get the full appreciation for his jacket without seeing the web come together on his back. He should have been the NBA Rookie of the Year, but Mitchell is already on the rise of the NBA’s elite.
The Eagles Secondary
Safety Rodney McLeod brought out the purple suit, no shirt wave. Safety, and political activist, Malcolm Jenkins stayed clean with the white blazer and glasses. Cornerback Jalen Mills made himself noticed in a solid red suit topped off with green hair. The Eagles won the Super Bowl, and showed out at the ESPYs 2018.
Trey Burton, Chicago Bears
The former Philadelphia tight end rocked an Eagles jacket inlayed with an ode to “Philly Special,” dubbed one of the greatest plays called in Super Bowl history. Burton, now an eastern Pennsylvania legend, threw the pass that quarterback Nick Foles caught to help beat the New England Patriots. Call me vain, but if I’m Trey Burton, I’d never wear another jacket without that inside of it.
Adam Rippon, U.S. Men’s Figure Skating
Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon, and the U.S. Men’s Figure Skating team, took home the Bronze medal at the 2018 U.S. Winter Olympics. Rippon capitalized by winning season 26 of Dancing With The Stars this year. But his white jacket draped over the shoulder look? Might have won him a medal at this year’s ESPYs.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers
Courtesy of LeBron James, the suit-shorts is the new wave. John Sherman Smith-Schuster (yup, JuJu isn’t actually his real name) busted out this suit from The Black Tux in tandem with shoes embroidered with his signature, and accented with a Steelers-gold pocket handkerchief. Not bad for the 21-year-old.
Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants
You’ll never catch Odell slipping when the cameras come on. The white and black print silk and oval sunglasses plays with the signature Odell Ramen-hair. The New York Giants wide receiver came to L.A. to show out, and now he’ll head back home to do the same on the football field.
Ciara and Russell Wilson
One of sports’ power couples, Ciara and Russell Wilson, brought the heat to the ESPYs once again. Ciara popped in yellow, and Super Bowl champion Russ stayed cool in a blue blazer over solid black. Get out of the way when the Wilson’s are coming down the red carpet.