“I’m the second NBA player to host this award show, which is kind of crazy to think about,” Steph Curry said at the start of the ESPYS on Wednesday (July 20). Steph, 34, noted that he was following in the footsteps of LeBron James. “LeBron James, he hosted this award show back in 2007, after losing the NBA Finals,” said Steph. While basking in the glory of his and the Golden Warriors’ recent NBA Championship, Steph took a drink and said, “So yes. You guessed it: this feels better. This feels better.”
Steph had a few zingers in his opening speech. While looking at the crowd gathered at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, Steph noted there were “so many amazing talents, so many teammates, so many Olympians, so many champions, so many potential Dancing with the Stars contestants.”
Steph returned to shade LeBron, 37, and the Los Angeles Lakers later in the monologue. “The Los Angeles Rams are in the house. Super Bowl champions, that sounds great,” said Curry. “It was so inspiring watching y’all play, watching y’all win a Super Bowl, watching y’all celebrate. It’s just inspiring to see that strategy of buying old superstars pay off for a local team around here.” The joke didn’t completely land, mainly because LeBron and the Lakers won the NBA Championship in 2020, two years after he traded his Cleveland Cavaliers jersey for the purple-and-gold.
It wasn’t all jokes for Steph. He and his wife, Ayesha Curry, brought the glam – along with their daughters Riley, 10, and 7-year-old Ryan – on the red carpet. Plus, during the ESPYS, Steph brought attention to wrongfully detained WNBA player Brittney Griner. Steph brought out WNBA players Nneka Ogwumike and Skylar Diggins-Smith to address Griner’s status during the show, per ESPN.
“It’s been 153 nights now that BG has been wrongfully detained thousands of miles away from home, away from her family, away from her friends, away from her team,” said Diggins-Smith. “All throughout that time, we’ve kept her in our thoughts and in our hearts even though we know that ain’t nearly enough to bring her home, y’all.”
“But as we hope for the best, we urge the entire global sports community to continue to stay energized on her behalf,” said Steph, who wore Brittney’s Phoenix Mercury jersey under his tracksuit. “She’s one of us, the team of athletes in this room tonight and all over the world. A team that has nothing to do with politics or global conflict.”