By Brian Kalchik @RantsportsBrian on July 17, 2014
While mostly light-hearted, especially with bits from Drake, who served as the host of the 2014 ESPYs, the evening was filled by poignant and inspiring stories. Sports figures like St. Louis Rams rookie Michael Sam, Josh Sweeney and ESPN's cancer-stricken Stuart Scott warmed hearts and jerked tears with their speeches. My list of the top five moments from the 2014 ESPYs had less to do with humor and more to do with impact.
During the 2014 ESPY Awards on Wednesday night, there was a pretty awesome moment with some of the best athletes in history on the same stage at the same time. Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning was presented with the award for Best Record-Breaking Performance by NFL Hall of Famer Dan Marino and NBA superstar Kevin Durant.
Unlike a certain network (Fox) which failed to even mention the late great Tony Gwynn in their MLB All-Star Game coverage, the ESPYs did it perfectly. While some of you may think Chris Berman is annoying, the fact that he singled out Gwynn in his opening monologue showed how much Gwynn meant to the sport.
In the inaugural year for the Pat Tillman Award For Service, there couldn't have been a more deserving candidate than Josh Sweeney. Back in 2009, as a Marine Corps sergeant, he lost both of his legs to a land mine while serving in Afghanistan. A Purple Heart recipient, Sweeney fought back and scored the game's only goal as the U.S. won gold during the gold-medal game against Russia at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.
Michael Sam delivered an incredibly powerful speech after accepting the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. There weren’t many dry eyes in the room following that, as Sam won the award for his decision to publicly come out before the NFL Scouting Combine and become the first openly gay player drafted into the NFL. Sam quoted Ashe himself by using three of his most important statements, "Start where you are, use what you have and do what you can."
ESPN's Stuart Scott was given the Jimmy V Perseverance Award and gave a speech that was reminiscent of the man whom the award was named after. Scott went through everything, including the four surgeries in the week leading up to the ESPYs, which he wasn't sure he'd even make. Finally, he called his youngest daughter Sydni up on stage for a hug. If that moment didn't touch you, nothing will.
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