ESPY Awards 2021: Funniest Highlights and Results from Saturday's Show

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IJuly 11, 2021

Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball (2) dribbles the ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Sunday, May 16, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

It may have been raining in New York City on Saturday night, but that didn't damper the mood and excitement at the 2021 ESPYs, which took place at The Rooftop at Pier 17. After last year's awards show was virtual (during a time when much of the sports world was on pause), it was just exciting to be looking back at all the great sports moments in the past year.

However, the rain did have an effect on some of the winners. Well, at least one of them.

Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball won the Breakthrough Athlete ESPY after his impressive debut season in the NBA. But he didn't have much to say during his acceptance speech, resulting in a funny moment that he blamed on the weather:

ESPN @espn

.@MELOD1P wins Best Breakthrough Athlete and may have had the best speech so far 😂 https://t.co/ofOkyHtG6G

There were plenty of other laughs throughout the night, as celebrities and stars joined some of the top professional athletes in the world in recognizing the best moments and top performers over the past year. In all, the ESPYs were again an entertaining show for these many reasons.

Ball wasn't the only athlete who got comical with his acceptance speech. No shocker here: Rob Gronkowski also brought the entertainment when he was on stage.

While Tom Brady won the award for Best Athlete in Men's Sports, that wasn't the only time the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were honored. After winning Super Bowl LV, the Bucs took home the Best Team ESPY. And that brought Gronkowski to the stage with some of his teammates.

Apparently, it didn't take long for Gronkowski to realize that Tampa Bay had a special team when he came out of retirement to rejoin his old teammate Brady in a new city:

ESPN @espn

“I was like, ‘Damn, s---, we got a s--- load of talent, baby.’” @RobGronkowski reflects on a Super Bowl season as the @Buccaneers are awarded an ESPYS for Best Team 🤣 https://t.co/ZCqCbaPreP

However, one of the funniest parts of the night wasn't live, but rather an ESPN-produced segment. One of the hottest topics of the NFL offseason has been Aaron Rodgers' future with the Green Bay Packers. Is he going to report to the team at some point? Or is his time there over?

ESPN's Adam Schefter has been trying to crack the case a bit too much it seems:

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

Aaron Rodgers in the NHL? Taking @RobGronkowski's spot on the party bus? Joining @bts_bighit? These rumors are wearing poor @AdamSchefter down 😂 https://t.co/HqJvtgJcjz

Every year, one of the best parts of the ESPYs comes at the beginning, when the host gets the crowd involved and loosened up with some jokes during the monologue. And actor Anthony Mackie did a good job of that on Saturday night.

Mackie poked fun at players, such as Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young:

ESPN @espn

.@AnthonyMackie didn't have to do @TheTraeYoung like that 😭 😂 https://t.co/JARF955ozb

He moved past former New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees:

ESPN @espn

"Sorry Drew Brees, you're old news. ... I'm talking about the Spelling Bee champ." @AnthonyMackie salutes New Orleans legend Zaila Avant-garde ❤️ https://t.co/rITM2SJpn8

And before the show, he had even tweeted his ESPYs audition tape:

Anthony Mackie @AnthonyMackie

ESPY Auditions @stephenasmith @JHarden13 @KingJames @ESPYS https://t.co/FeQLxIIoCB

As for the other notable winners, tennis player Naomi Osaka took home the ESPY for Best Athlete in Women's Sports. She won a pair of Grand Slam titles over the past years, so that didn't come as much of a surprise.

The Los Angeles Dodgers may not have won Best Team, but they won the ESPY for Best Championship Moment. Last October, they ended a 32-year championship drought, so that's a deserving honor for them.

Also, Russell Westbrook earned the Best Record-Breaking Performance ESPY after breaking Oscar Robertson's record with his 182nd triple-double this past season.

It was an exciting night, and next summer, it'll take place again. But first, we get to enjoy all the sports moments and performances that will eventually be recognized and honored in 2022.