As the Director of the Sports & Entertainment Division, and more importantly as a fan of athletic prowess, there was no better place for me to be on Wednesday than the 2012 ESPYS at the Nokia Theatre at L.A. LIVE. The sports award show delivered on a promise to compile the world’s greatest athletes to celebrate athletic achievement. The event drew athletes (past and current), entertainers,broadcasters, coaches, members of the media, agents, managers, sports fans, a red carpet, fancy dresses, custom suits, championship rings and more. It was an opportunity for us to connect and reconnect with our target audience.
I met Mauricio a few hours before the show to assist with a tour of The Ritz Carlton Residences at L.A. LIVE for a prospective buyer. Then we rode the elevator back down to jump into the ESPY excitement building in the JW Marriot lobby. The 30-second elevator ride to the festivities was a reminder of the lifestyle and unrivaled proximity that living at The Ritz-Carlton Residences provides its homeowners.
In the lobby, I ran into several athletes and entertainers that I have befriended over time and met a handful of future Hall of Famers. Reminiscing on Raiders’ camp with NFL Hall of Famer and former teammate Tim Brown was as much fun as talking to humble NBA star Jeremy Lin about seizing opportunities and realizing potential. I ran into Tim Tebow, spoke with long-time friend and NFL star Takeo Spikes about how he is preparing for life off of the field, and listened as former Super Bowl champ Aaron Rodgers filled me in on the amazing new stadium at our alma mater, UC Berkeley (Go Bears!). There were also the amazing introductions made by Mauricio. Mauricio and Billy Rose would later attend the ESPY’s after-party, and shared the appreciation of the talent we were surrounded by.
The professional sports world is a fraternity of mutual respect and admiration. The ESPY’s provided many of the attendees with an opportunity to fraternize with other sports and Hollywood stars. I overheard MMA stars Anderson Silva and Jon “Bones” Jones each referring to the other as the greatest in the sport. Several took the opportunity to congratulate Steve Nash on his move to Los Angeles, and I seized the chance to congratulate several of the L.A. Kings on their championship. My evening also included talking to RGIII about “getting after it” on day one in the NFL, and congratulating 6’8’’ Female Athlete of the Year winner, Brittney Griner. The fun included accompanying Mauricio down the red carpet after he was announced as one of the special guests. After several more cool conversations with other attendees, we made our way into the theater.
The show was entertaining, which is not a given for most awards shows. Having front and center seats didn’t hurt either. The comedy of host Rob Riggle, music of Nas, amazing sports clips, genuine acceptance speeches, and heartfelt words of the Jimmy V award winner Eric LeGrand all contributed to a rich evening and memorable experience. We left the event feeling inspired about the opportunities that life provides us to realize our potential, and excited about how our careers have given us a chance to service and make fans out of the athletes and entertainers that give all of us so much to cheer about.
Focus and Finish!
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