The 2021 ESPYS proved to be a night to remember

From host Anthony Mackie’s opening monologue to the very end, the 2021 ESPYS were a night to remember.

Mackie, who was recently revealed as Captain America in Marvel’s “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”, started the show by sharing his thoughts on Sha’Carri Richardson’s suspension from the US Olympic team and Naomi Osaka’s punishment for skipping French Open media obligations.

After addressing these instances, Mackie poked fun at himself saying: “But hey, what do I know, right? I’m just Captain America.”

Richardson later sat down with The Undefeated to discuss her future aspirations.

The night before the show, Mackie posted his ESPY “audition” on Twitter which featured impressions of James Harden and LeBron James.

He also acknowledged the presence of Scripps National Spelling Bee champion, Zaila Avant-garde.

“This kid can do anything,” he said.” She can hit a step-back like Luka Doncic and then spell Luka Doncic right the first time.”

A little later at The Rooftop at Pier 17 in New York City, Osaka accepted the Best Female Athlete award, which was her first ESPY. After withdrawing from the French Open and Wimbledon earlier this year, she will represent Japan at the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Aaron Rodgers’ relationship with the Green Bay Packers has been a hot topic this NFL offseason. Even his vacation with Shailene Woodley made major headlines a little while back. The ESPYS provided some clarity (read as comedic relief) to address any and all rumors ahead of the season.

“People ask: why don’t you quit? Because my dream is bigger than my pain.”

Ironman Chris Nikic delivered an incredibly powerful speech as he accepted the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance. Nikic became the first person with Down syndrome to complete an Ironman in November 2020.

Nikic also added that he’s “adorable, single and available.”

UConn Basketball star Paige Bueckers accepted the Best College Athlete, Women’s Sports ESPY and used her speech to celebrate Black women.

“With the light that I have now as a white woman who leads a Black-led sport and celebrated here, I want to shed a light on Black women,” said Bueckers. “They’ve given so much to the sport, the community and society as a whole and their value is undeniable.”

She also thanked her coaches, teammates, and other influential figures in her life.

Maya Moore was presented with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. In 2019 the Minnesota Lynx Legend made headlines for halting her career in order to address prison reform, focusing on the wrongful conviction of Jonathon Irons.

“These sacrifices we make in sports are great, but I would invite you to see them as just pointers to the sacrifices of life that matter most,” Moore said. “Power is not meant to be gripped with a clenched fist or to be hoarded. But power is meant to be handled generously so we can thoughtfully empower one another to thrive in our communities for love’s sake, championing our humanity before our ambitions.”

Irons was exonerated in 2020 and the two publicly announced their marriage later in the year.

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