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SPECIAL REPORT: INSIDE THE ESPYS

By / 07.16.07

With Leather reader Alex, whom I've known since college, is a semi-employed actor in Los Angeles who landed a gig helping out at the Espys last Wednesday.  Fortunately, ESPN doesn't screen candidates for ties to the blogosphere, so he was able to spy on everyone and file the following behind-the-scenes report.

A friend of mine who has ESPN ties hooked me up with a job working this year’s Espy Awards. It’s not at all surprising that a network that’s gradually replaced most of its sports programming with mock MLB drafts, made-for-TV movies about the Yankees, and weeks of "Who’s Now" would dub a night totally devoid of actual athletic competition "The Greatest Night In Sports." Regardless, I was pretty fired up to rub shoulders with the best athletes in the biz and rub other things with their jersey-chasing girlfriends.  I was told I would be one of a bunch of "talent coordinators" and "show assistants."  Basically, it was my job to make sure the athletes and celebrities were in the right place at the right time and that the backstage goings-on of the show were on schedule.  The perfect job for a With Leather mole, hungry for the best behind-the-scenes action…

By early Monday morning professional photogs and autograph-seekers had staked claim to the sidewalk in front of the Mondrian Hotel and by early Monday evening professional groupies and franchise sperm-seekers had begun milling about the lobby in dresses that looked thieved off the wardrobe racks of Snoop’s “Nuthin’ But a G Thang” video. Monday night at the SkyBar was pretty low key. Peyton Manning, his wife and a bunch of other Colts players holed up in the upstairs bar drinking for a bit. Drew Gooden, his hair patch, and a couple other guys who looked like athletes were drinking by the pool for a bit, too. Most of the athletes got in Tuesday in time for the big Espy pre-party at the Roosevelt.

That night a buddy of mine who played college ball met me for a drink and, being a 6’6” black dude, he was loving the looks from all the girls and photographers who assumed he was "somebody." We hung out in the lobby while some of the athletes were waiting for cars to take them to the party. Dwyane Wade lookin’ thug and minus the wifey, Gooden, TO, Oden, Michael Phelps, etc. We couldn’t wrangle our way into the Roosevelt but I heard word from others that the party was pretty crazy. TI


TAGSADVENTURES IN JOURNALISMESPN

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