NBA Stars Look Amazing at the 2011 ESPY Awards

Dirk Nowitzski, the winner of the Best Male Athlete and Best NBA Player awards, set the standard at the 2011 ESPY Awards, arriving in a slick black tie.

Giants like Nowitzski sometimes make the common mistake of compensating for their height by choosing boxy suits (like Stoudemire, sometimes), but it looks like he chose wisely, going for a sleek, classic look, with black on white, matched with a white handkerchief. His girlfriend, Jessica Ollson looked stunning in a white gown. The two of them set the stage for a stylish awards show.

While Nowitzski and Ollson were busy being figures of classical beauty, Russell Westbrook showed up looking snazzy in a striped vest with a blue tie. Amar’e Stoudemire also jettisoned black tie in favour of a daring all-black look, matching a jacket with black tee, and a gold necklace.

Otherwise, I have to say there were a lot of NBA players, including Kevin Love, choosing classic, sharply tailored black tie. Luckily, the women were on hand to look uniquely incredible. Tara Lipinski went simple with a silver mini, and of course, Serena Williams looked stunning.

The red carpet had some interesting details. The LA Times managed to snag a few interviews, including Nowitzski revealing that he’s a huge Kobe Bryant fan. Although, in an industry where the press loves to ask irrelevant questions, the LA Times’ Melissa Rohlins has to be up there with the best of them, asking Blake Griffin if he’s ever worried he’ll jump so high he might hurt himself. His answer? “That’s not really something I think about.” Well, yeah.

Speaking of Griffin, Best-Dressed has to go to him, when he snagged the “Breakthrough Athlete of the Year” award in a staggeringly sharp grey three-piece, matched with dotted tie.

The NBA had some good blood this year. The nigh-messianic Mavs got their “Best Team” award (complete with Jason Kidd in a shimmering silver suit, matched with brown shoes.)

And while award shows are notorious for their lack of spontaneity, San Francisco Giants pitcher Brian Wilson managed to eject a little, appearing in a penguin-like spandex tuxedo, complete with orange bow tie and white gloves. Wilson himself has some rock star charisma, and his beard and faux-hawk have the makings for something iconic.

Overall, the 2011 ESPY awards managed an impressive amount of glamour, pulling in celeb pedigree like Justin Timberlake and Cee Lo Green. Bizarrely, Justin Bieber was on hand, presenting an award with NASCAR driver Danica Patrick. Patrick’s black one-shoulder gown is lovely, but someone thought it was a good idea to put Bieber into a mock-up of a NASCAR firesuit. I realize it was a theme outfit, and it’s little unfair to give him Worst Dressed of the Evening, but yeesh, what an eyesore.

Bieber was later seen with girlfriend Selena Gomez, who apparently arrived secretly at the ceremony after the red carpet, fanning the flames of the Bieber press machine.

As for Seth Meyers, he had the unenviable job of injecting some life and humour into the show, and he did the best job he could with the material available to him, poking fun at Brian Wilson’s beard, at the Vancouver riot and at the Miami Heat.

As with any monologue, some jokes stuck and some didn’t, but it would be unfair to Meyers and his material if I didn’t point out that, Christ, the audience wasn’t helping him out much. Too much polite laughter can shipwreck any routine. Come on, sports world, you’d think you could be a bit more rambunctious than that.

But deserving athletes took away some good awards, including UConn’s brilliantly talented firebolt Mya Moore, who got “Best Female College Athlete”. Expect big things from her, people.

All in all, not a bad haul for a night.


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