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Taye Diggs Reflects On Working With ESPN Again, Hosting Sports Humanitarian Awards Today On ABC

The actor and author - and the voice of "The Fab Five" - explains why he loves celebrating sports and acts of service

The Rooftop at Pier 17 in New York City:Taye Diggs hosts the 2021 Sports Humanitarian Awards presented by ESPN.
(Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images)

The seventh annual Sports Humanitarian Awards were awarded July 12 at The Rooftop at Pier 17, located within the Seaport in New York City.

The event, hosted by actor and author Taye Diggs, will air as a 90-minute television special today (2 p.m. ET, ABC). The event features stars including Billie Jean King, David Robinson, Joe Torre, Billy Crystal, Lindsey Vonn, and Matt James, with narrations from Laila Ali, Common, Anthony Mackie, and more.

Front Row caught up with Diggs on his experience hosting the awards.

Why did you want to be a part of the Sports Humanitarian Awards?
I wanted to be a part of the Sports Humanitarian Awards because I’m a huge fan of sports, all acts of service, and just people doing good things for good people. Any opportunity where I can go in front of an audience for a good cause is always appealing.

I also had the chance to do a voice-over for ESPN’s documentary about “The Fab Five,” and I’ve just been itching to do more with ESPN ever since.

What was your favorite part of the evening as host?
My favorite part about the evening was simply the fact that we could gather so many different athletes in one room, all while distributing different accolades for work we tend to look over.

I loved that under the circumstances of COVID and its restrictions, we were still able to produce a safe and friendly environment outside in order to celebrate these great achievements. It was such an amazing evening!

What sports figure’s work in social issues do you find most compelling and why?
I love the sports figures from an underserved country, town, or city – the underdogs – and find success in the United States who then fund, support, and help whatever country, town, or city they were brought up in.

I cannot even imagine some of the challenges that these individuals must face throughout their journey. I have always been very impressed with athletes that can do that.

If you could make an ESPN Films 30 for 30 documentary about any sports story, what would it be?
If I were to do a documentary, it would be about black hockey players. I would want to know about the black men that play in a stereotypically white-led sport. I would want to make known that African Americans are succeeding and thriving in that sport, following their day-to-day activity and getting coverage that we may not get to see from watching a game.

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