As the 2010 ESPY Awards began at the Nokia Theatre on Wednesday, host Seth Meyers’ jokes were falling flat.
After one lack of response, Meyers told the crowd, “You may not care for that joke, but all the proceeds went to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.” Along with targeting LeBron James — who appeared last week on a ballyhooed ESPN special that benefited the Boys & Girls Clubs — Meyers joked about Lakers Coach Phil Jackson’s 11th championship, Tiger Woods and Tim Tebow.
The show continued in a tone of silliness, and several of Meyers’ current and former “Saturday Night Live” cast mates joined in the fun, including a vuvuzela-playing Will Ferrell and Andy Samberg dressed as Paul the octopus.
Los Angeles made a good showing on a night when sports got the Hollywood treatment. Jackson took home the ESPY for best coach, the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant won the award for best NBA player and the Galaxy’s Landon Donovan won awards for best MLS player and best moment in sports, for his winning goal for the U.S. against Algeria in the World Cup.
The New Orleans Saints were the top winners of the evening, taking the award for best team. Quarterback Drew Brees was named best male athlete and best NFL player and was saluted for best championship performance.
“It’s hard to beat the Lakers in L.A.,” Saints Coach Sean Payton said while accepting the best-team trophy.
Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn also won multiple awards, as fans voted her best female athlete and best female Olympian.
“I think that women’s sports all around have been growing and growing over the past few years,” Vonn said.
The show took on a serious tone with two special awards. The Jimmy V Award for Perseverance, in honor of the late college basketball coach Jim Valvano, went to Denver Nuggets Coach George Karl, who is a survivor of prostate cancer and was diagnosed with neck and throat cancer. The Arthur Ashe Courage Award went to the family of Ed Thomas, a high school football coach from Parkersburg, Iowa, who was fatally shot by a former player on June 24, 2009.
“Courage after this is continuing to do what is right, continuing to do what Dad would expect,” Thomas’ son Todd said.