There aren’t many places I consider myself inexperienced, but the red carpet at the ESPYS was certainly one of them, if my Chuck Taylors and little black dress ensemble didn’t make it obvious enough already. I’m used to having long sit down interviews with athletes willing to give me their undivided attention – pretty much the exact opposite from last week at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE.
Here are some of my favorite moments/interview clips from the red carpet with some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment all under the same California sun:
Cody Regis from UCLA Baseball
Me: So Cody, I’m sure you were busy watching the All-Star Game last night? What was the best part of the night?
Cody (laughing): Well not Neil Diamond. Probably seeing Matt Harvey pitching.
Trey Burke, Utah Jazz
Me: You probably can’t answer this, but who names a team the Pelicans?
Trey: I actually got the opportunity to talk to someone when I went down there for a workout. They wanted a name that stood for the whole city, and when Katrina hit, they had a lot of pelicans, so it makes sense.
Me: If you could name a team, what would you pick?
Trey: Los Angeles Lions, or something fierce…
Me: Who’s the most fierce athlete here tonight?
Trey: Probably Adrian Peterson or LeBron. Those are two of the best athletes in the world and it’s an honor to be here amongst them.
Me: Put the two of them against each other in a hockey game, a sport neither plays – who wins?
Trey: I gotta go LeBron.
Nikki and Brie Bella, Total Divas
Me to Nikki: Those shoes [Louboutins] are amazing, but how the hell do you walk down the red carpet in those crazy high heels and crutches?
Nikki: I’m Superman’s girlfriend so that means I’m Superwoman, and it goes with the territory. I think the fact I was a soccer player for 11 years helped and then a wrestler for 8, so I have really strong legs. I feel like I was born in heels. I could skateboard in them.
Me: What do you think is harder: wearing a crazy long gown walking on stage for an acceptance speech in front of everyone or Louboutins and crutches?
Nikki: Definitely the crutches.
[Sidenote, Nikki really does date Superman, but he answers to John Cena.]
Datone Jones, Green Bay Packers
Me: What song pumps you up the most on the field?
Datone: I listen to a lot of instrumental – I’m into Kanye’s HAM right now.
Me: How can you sing along if it’s instrumental?
Datone: Who says I sing along? Sometimes I make up my own words, depends on who we’re going to play, but that’s my go-to song.
Me: Who does the best Lambeau Leap?
Datone: Datone Jones does it the best. Coming soon.
Me: Tell me a joke.
Michael: You see Chris Bosh’s long neck? He drink alcohol today, he don’t get drunk until tomorrow.
Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets
Me: I just saw your cover of the Body Issue…lookin’ good! How’s it feel to be out here with all your clothes on?
Me: Who is someone you could see tonight that would make you beyond excited?
Kenneth: Alicia Keys.
Me: How much would you pay for a private concert with her and her piano?
Kenneth: I wouldn’t pay for that, but I’d brag about it.
Elena Hight, US Olympic Snowboarder
Me: Who is the most extreme athlete you’ve ever met or want to meet?
Elena: I’d have to say Travis Pastrana is the most extreme athlete I’ve ever met.
Me: Who are you most excited to see tonight?
Elena: There are so many amazing athletes to see everyone. Definitely Vernon Davis and Abby Wambach, those are top two.
Me: So you just stripped down for ESPN’s annual Body Issue, does it feel weird having clothes on?
Elena: I’m definitely more liberal now.
Me: Who were you most nervous to see the photos?
Elena: My grandparents. They’ve seen it but I haven’t talked to them yet.
Me: Would you consider getting a large print and hanging it over their couch?
Elena: I don’t know about that, but I’m really proud of it. It was a cool experience.
Tony Kannan, Indy 500 Driver
Me: How excited are you to be here?
Tony: It’s awesome! This is the biggest sporting event in the world and to be a part of it is an honor, but to be a nominee, it makes me more nervous than before a race. I’m meeting some of my idols here.
Me: Who are your idols?
Tony: Dwyane Wade and Michael Phelps are at the top.
Me: Do you think either of them would fit in your race car?
Tony: No way. I’d like to see it, but then they would ask me to play or swim and that’s going to be terrible.
Me: Do you think you could play basketball?
Tony: No way, look at my size. I’m not Muggsy Bogues.