Land Rover goes off the beaten path to ESPYs
We love sports. We love the thrill of competition. We love a battle down to the last one standing. Blood, sweat and tears, and then the glory.
With the barrage of bad news clouding sports of late, it’s good to be reminded that most players are actually down-to-earth, hard working individuals. Players that have unresolved personal issues that come with too much fame and money too young, or a lack of personal family structure often overshadow the down-to-earth nature of the average professional athlete. Most of these athletes achieved success by simply playing their hardest and following the rules that bind them on the court and off the field. And there’s those who stand out from the bunch — true, honest all-stars with integrity, and a conscience, too. Cheering for people we like is part of the attraction of sports enthusiasts.
After interviewing dozens of NFL, NBA, MLB, tennis, hockey players, and of course NASCAR drivers, I’m always touched by the many who are involved in causes. They invite you to their events, they speak with seriousness about children or finding cures for illnesses. These are the men and women who make me love their games that much more — real champions.
Many players across professional sports have their own foundations and participate on a regular basis in the effort to raise money and awareness. Our good friend CBS NFL (and prominent vintage car collector) host James Brown honors exemplary NFL players who show their leadership at the annual JB Awards with recent honorees including Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals, Joe Flacco of the Baltimore Ravens, and Washington Redskin Clinton Portis, who attended the April gala. ESPN devotes a The ESPYS are one off-the-court event where sportsmanship shines in the form athletes do-gooders in between the bravado of saluting those with the best moves.
Unlike most televised awards shows, the ESPYS set a precedent with a portion of its proceeds designated for charity the V Foundation, named for its founder, Jim Valvano, a former North Carolina basketball coach who fought a long battle against cancer. Partnering with ESPN, the foundation has raised over 80 million dollars in 15 years.
The Arthur Ashe Courage Award is another ESPY highlight along benevolent lines, honoring personal courage and or charitable works outside the sport venue, with winners including Muhammad Ali and another one of our favorite athletes tennis star Billie Jean King. Land Rover is on board with sponsorship — a good fit for rough and rugged off-road champ that is into rescuing people from peril. The ESPYs tape tonight and will air this weekend. We need more light on what’s athletes are doing throughout their communities to balance out players who behave like bozos and cheat or whose off-season foibles and bad choices cast a dark shadow over the sporting life. We like the good guys (and gals) the ones who shed light on towns big and small, the ones who often return home and give back to their native communities –who are the winners at the end of the day.
Onto the glitz and glam of the year in sports for those at the top of their game. Here are our votes for ESPY night based on unscientific, biased fan basis: Serena Williams Tennis, Pittsburgh Steelers, Michael Phelps,Federer vs. Nadal 2008 Wimbledon Final, Usain Bolt Olympic Sprinter, F1 Driver Lewis Hamilton, Boxer Manny Pacquiao, Francisco Rodriguez, Shaun White Snowboarding/Skateboarding, Tiger Woods, Detroit Red Wing Pavel Datsyuk and the Wrestler. What are yours?
And the nominees are: [click to continue…]