NEW YORK – Tuesday’s Sports Emmys had a distinctly ESPN flavor to them, but one that was equal parts celebratory and poignant.
In addition to ESPN matching the company’s best-ever result of 11 awards (especially noteworthy in an “Olympic year”), former president George Bodenheimer received the Lifetime Achievement Award.
In a special tribute to the late Stuart Scott, Suzy Kolber remembered her friend as a group of fellow SportsCenter anchors past and present – including Keith Olbermann, Hannah Storm, Mike Tirico, Jay Harris, Sage Steele, John Anderson, Steve Levy and Rich Eisen – stood alongside.
SportsCenter reporter Shelley Smith – serving as a presenter for five categories – walked on to the Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall stage to a standing ovation in support of her ongoing fight against cancer. She even joked how easy it was for her to prepare for the evening compared to all the other women in attendance, without the need to bother with any preparation for hair!
The evening’s emotional climax brought many to tears when Sports Host winner Ernie Johnson of TNT – himself a cancer survivor – graciously chose to give his statuette to Stuart’s daughters, Taelor and Sydni. The young girls each spoke of their gratitude to Johnson, The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and ESPN, and of their love for their dad.