Justin Timberlake had one of the most important jobs at the 2016 ESPYS, as he presented Abby Wambach, Kobe Bryant and Peyton Manning with the Icon Award! As he paid tribute to the highs and lows of their amazing careers, Justin said they truly are ‘legends.’
They’re three of the most successful athletes in sports history: Kobe Bryant, 37, Abby Wambach, 36, and Peyton Manning, 40. Though they all retired from their respective games, Justin Timberlake, 35, and the 2016 ESPY Awards made sure they knew that they would never be forgotten!
“You know there’s something different about them — Kobe. Peyton. Abby,” Justin said during the July 13 ceremony at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Justin, who hosted the show in 2008, said “‘Good’ would have been a disappointment. Even ‘great’ would have underwhelmed. To truly live up to who they were supposed to be, they had to become legends.”
After showing highlights from all three players’ careers, including Super Bowl victories, NBA Championships and Olympics gold medals, Justin said how “[theor] comebacks, the absolute refusal to give in to injuries” truly made them incredible. He even recalled how Abby busted her head open, received medical staples and returned the game! “Ladies and gentlemen, three iconic legends, three of the best to ever do it!”
If there are three athletes who deserve to be called “icons,” it’s definitely Peyton, Kobe and Abby. The sports world misses them dearly, but each knew it was time to walk away. Who can forget Peyton’s tear-full retirement speech? “I fought a good fight,” he said on March 7. “I have finished my football race. And after 18 years, I have finished my time. God bless all of you and god bless football.”
Abby was just as emotional when she said good-bye. Just like Peyton, who finished his time in the NFL with an epic Super Bowl victory, Abby closed the book on her professional career following the US Women’s 2015 World Cup win. “It has been my pleasure and my honor to represent you all, the fans, for as long as I’ve been able to,” she said in Dec. 2015.
Then, there was Black Mamba himself, Kobe Bryant. After scoring a 60 point game on Apr. 13, Kobe bid a fond farewell to the NBA. “I can’t believe how fast 20 years went by,” he said. “No words can describe how I feel. Thank you — Thank you from the bottom of my heart. God, I love you guys.”
Clearly, sports fans still love you, Kobe – as well as Abby and Peyton. HollywoodLifers – what do you think about Justin’s presentation to these three icons? Do you think he did them justice?