|Celebrities highlight attendees
LOS ANGELES -- Host Jamie Foxx took no prisoners, superstars Tom Cruise and Denzel Washington gave stirring tributes to a pair of legendary athletes, and the Detroit Pistons were the big winners of the night at the 12th Annual ESPY Awards, taped Wednesday at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre. The telecast will air Sunday, July 18 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.
|Eric Gagne accepts the award for Best Record-Breaking Performance.|
Billy Bob Thornton presented former UConn basketball star and current Phoenix Mercury rookie Diana Taurasi - also a winner this year for Best Female College Athlete - with the Best Female Athlete award. Sharon Stone announced that Lance Armstrong, currently in pursuit of his sixth consecutive Tour de France victory, won his second consecutive Best Male Athlete award. The world champion Detroit Pistons and coach Larry Brown continued their success in L.A., just weeks after capturing the NBA crown over the heavily favored Los Angeles Lakers, as they won three ESPY Awards: Best Coach, Best Upset and Best Team. Stars including Faith Hill, Christina Applegate, Bernie Mac and Vince Vaughn and athletes LeBron James, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Mia Hamm were among the many notables in attendance.
HOST JAMIE FOXX
Opening the show, Foxx joked that all bets were off since he was working "on a four-day delay." Playing a variety of characters in both scripted and improvised bits, Foxx good-naturedly skewered the likes of Samuel L. Jackson and athletes LeBron James, Terrell Owens and Gary Payton. Foxx also brought the house down with a reprise performance of his musical tribute to tennis star Serena Williams, "Can I Be Your Tennis Ball?" and later joined Outkast onstage to close the show with a performance of their hit "I Like The Way You Move."
TOM CRUISE / PAT TILLMAN TRIBUTE
Actor Tom Cruise - who stars with Jamie Foxx in the upcoming film "Collateral" - presented a tribute to the late Pat Tillman, recipient of the 2003 Arthur Ashe Courage Award. The Phoenix Cardinals standout left his NFL career following the events of September 11, 2001 to join the Army Rangers, and was killed in action in Afghanistan in April. "Pat Tillman surrendered a life of fame and security to set an example," Cruise said. "An example of something that we deeply value but so often take for granted - our freedom in this nation to choose our own destinies."
DENZEL WASHINGTON / ARTHUR ASHE COURAGE AWARD
Academy Award winner Denzel Washington presented the Arthur Ashe Courage Award to George Weah, the Liberian-born soccer legend who has used his worldwide celebrity to help repair his war-torn country. "George Weah is one of the greatest soccer players of our time," Washington said, "from a nation where chaos has been the rule and where children are born killers." The actor then introduced a video tribute that chronicled Liberia's bloody recent history - and George Weah's efforts, at great personal and emotional expense, to take guns out of the hands of children and bring the light of sports to a nation that had once lost its hope.
The 2004 ESPY Awards Presented by GMC and Under Armour gathered sports and entertainment celebrities to salute the year's best performances. ESPN will televise this year's industry-wide sports celebration in a new Sunday time slot -- Sunday, July 18 at 9 p.m. ET. For the first time, fans determined the winners in all 36 ESPY Award categories.