What’s the Point of the ESPY Awards?

I’ve never fully understood the premise of the ESPYs, ESPN’s annual awards show, which airs for the 22nd time tomorrow night. Sports declare their winners through actual competition, and ESPY recipients have already earned more meaningful awards. Handing out Oscars and Grammys to actors and musicians makes sense. Declaring Adrian Peterson the Best NFL Player does not.

And yet, I have fond memories of the ESPYs, as I was fortunate enough to attend the show in 1997 and 1998. While it has since moved to the West Coast, at the time it was held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The hour or so before the show started was sports heaven for my 10- and 11-year-old self. I snagged autographs from players like Tim Duncan, Keyshawn Johnson, and Lisa Leslie. I brought a small notepad for this purpose, but when several players were standing together I ended up with multiple signatures on the same piece of paper.

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NBA Draft Coverage

Nik Stauskas (second from right) with the rest of the top prospects and commissioner Adam Silver.

Nik Stauskas (second from right) with the rest of the top prospects and commissioner Adam Silver.

I know it’s been a while since you’ve heard from me, but I’ve been keeping myself busy with plenty of freelance writing. On Thursday, I shadowed Nik Stauskas at the NBA draft, just as I’d done with Trey Burke the year before. Stauskas was drafted by the Sacramento Kings at No. 8, higher than he was projected in any mock draft I saw. It was a fun day, and I wrote about it for Michigan Today. The story was published yesterday.

Before the draft, I collaborated with friend Nick Williams on a statistical analysis that shows why drafting centers is unwise. That ran on Sports on Earth last week.

Thanks for reading!

Belmont Stakes 2014: The Nightmare of Leaving

The crowds exiting Belmont. (Credit: George Soukas; I was too depressed to take photos)

The crowds “exiting” Belmont. (Credit: George Soukas; I was too depressed to take photos)

California Chrome did not win the 146th running of the Belmont Stakes on Saturday and therefore did not become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978. While my girlfriend Megan and I wanted to see history, his defeat is not what made the day a complete disaster. It was trying to leave the park that did.

In the time it took us to exit Belmont Park, a horse could have gone around the 1.5-mile track 54 times. Or it could have run across the streets of Queens, into Manhattan via the 59th Street Bridge, all the way to Penn Station (a destination for many travelers) and back twice…and then ran around the track eight times.

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