The 2016 ESPYs (“Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly” Awards) are hitting small screens tonight (July 13) for what is sure to be a night full of heart and major spoofage.
With WWE superstar John Cena on hosting duty, the ceremony will also find the sports world colliding with entertainment as former host Justin Timberlake will present the Icon Award to Kobe Bryant, Peyton Manning and Abby Wambach, while Chance The Rapper has signed on for a special tribute to late boxing champ Muhammad Ali. Vice President Joe Biden will also present the Jimmy V Perseverance Award to esteemed sports broadcaster Craig Sager, who recently revealed his two-year fight with acute myeloid leukemia.
Before the ESPYs air at 8 p.m. tonight on ABC from Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater, revisit these impeccable music moments from awards shows past.
R.I.P. to Drake’s “Honorable Mentions”
During his 2015 hosting gig at the ESPY Awards, Drake used his talents for what he called “the B-side” to Queen’s “We Are The Champions” for “Honorable Mentions,” a candlelight ballad dedicated to the almost-winners of sports. Elsewhere in the show, he was friend zoned by WNBA star Skylar Diggins, sang the Frozen hit “Let It Go” as boxing great Manny Pacquiao and even performed his Donald Sterling-inspired slow jam, aptly titled “Side Pieces,” featuring a special cameo from R&B sensation Brian McKnight.
LeBron James Channels Bobby Brown
At the 2007 ESPYs, the-then (and current) Cleveland Cavalier took his talents to the stage by dancing and singing to an LBJ-inspired version of Bobby Brown‘s 1989 smash “My Prerogative.” Sporting Hammer-esque harem pants, gold chains and the Gumby haircut, King James — who also co-hosted the ESPYs alongside Jimmy Kimmel that year — delivers an anti-hater anthem his own way. Watch the performance here.
Destiny’s Child Takes the ESPYs’ Breath Away
“No matter the game, there can only be one winner,” says Kelly Rowland, Michelle Williams and Beyonce as Destiny’s Child before launching into a heart-stopping rendition of their 2004 hit “Lose My Breath.” The ladies get into formation for a pyro-filled performance below.
Drake Vs. Blake (and Chris Brown)
During his hosting stint, Drake took on Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin for an LMAO-worthy showdown that involved the two pranking and roasting each other in the boardroom, studio and beyond. Drizzy’s former foe Chris Brown then pops up, playing a surgeon and even volunteers to be co-host when Blake takes over.
Justin Timberlake’s Fanatical Performance
As host of the 2008 ESPYs, Justin Timberlake not only brought sexy back, but his inner fanboy as well. With basketball player Greg Oden on the piano and a gospel choir in tow, a tuxedo-clad J.T. couldn’t stop his feelings about sports. Sample line: “Tom Brady had the better team, a perfect season to defend/ How he could possibly lose this game? He has the world’s most awesome tight end.” *Pans camera to Brady’s supermodel wife, Gisele Bündchen*