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#ThrowbackThursday doesn’t do the ’98 ESPYs justice.

Posted on Jul 16, 2015 by

Last night was the 23rd ESPY Awards ceremony, and the first covered by ABC instead of ESPN. Naturally, there were a slew of stories this morning about the awards, presenters and athletes.

I was lucky enough to click a link bringing me to and a post by Ryan Glasspiegel about the 1998 Sports Awards/ESPYs, which turned out to be the best fifteen minutes anyone could hope to spend watching an awards show for sports. Does anyone think LeBron counts this year as a net win after winning another ESPY last night?

DISCLAIMER: Please don’t be the guy or gal that gets fired for watching this at work. This is cable television in 1998, which happens to be almost as offensive as the thought of having Dennis Miller host the ESPYs. Twice.

I’d strongly suggest watching this whole video for pure entertainment, or skip below if you were born in 1998 for the highlights:





This video begins right before Rich Eisen and Tar Heel legend Stuart Scott send the audience to Linda Cohn and Norm MacDonald. Last night’s memorial to Stu was awesome, but it is impossible to explain how freaking COOL Stu Scott was at the time. I imagine the conversation before shooting went something like this:

Director: Ok, Stu, we’re going to need you to-

Stuart Scott: Just sit here and look awesome? Sure, I can do that. #BOOYAH

Director: Thanks. Go Heels.

Previous plans were for Scott to address the audience, but Radio City Music Hall wasn’t properly equipped for a moment of such magnitude. Instead, ESPYs producers made their final good decision of the night and just let Rich Eisen (now of the NFL Network) hang out next to The Man. What happens next is a foreshadowing of what last night’s ESPYs show will probably look like in seventeen years.

NSFW: Seriously; if you want to watch this video at work, please wear headphones. You WILL attract unwanted attention, and we are not responsible for any lost wages as a result of disregarding this warning. 



After host Norm MacDonald walks past Evander Holyfield in a chorus line, he bumps into our friend Dookie V Dick Vitale, wearing a gorgeous, sequined Duke men’s away jersey. Understand that at this time, Duke had just won the championship, advanced further than UNC in the tournament, and truly overachieved not yet risen to basketball’s elite, and the young Vitale was simply trying to bring awareness to a small private school in Durham, NC. Attempts to further promote the university with hashtags like #SmallPrivateSDuke are now underway.

“Dancing in Radio City? It’s better than the Final Four, baby! It’s awesome, baby!” – Dick Vitale

I can also verify rumors that around this time, I met Vitale at a motel in West Virginia during a church ski trip, and he was cool. Also, he was not wearing any Duke gear, and didn’t mention Coach K or any sort of Diaper Dandy. True story. Please, no phone calls or television requests.



Norm MacDonald was getting ready to discuss Kobe Bryant after taking a shot at Jerry Jones when the camera pans to two of the most iconic sports faces in history. It’s hard to imagine that young Peyton and assorted other Manning didn’t immediately become inspired by Dean’s approving, yet stern glance. Peyton literally doesn’t even know how to contain himself and begins making the face he has been stuck with for 17+ years.

Peyton “Papa John” Manning was seen practicing recently at Duke’s campus in preparation for a remarkable comeback season. However, data mining by the St. Louis Cardinals has brought to light documents linking Manning’s visit to Durham with an experimental Duke Hospital treatment for Taco Neck Syndrome PPFS, or Permanent Purple Forehead Syndrome. Calls to Manning’s agents probably wouldn’t have been returned.

Elliott Rubin  —  Photographer, Photoshop Genius

Affiliations: WCHL, Chapelboro, RaleighCo


Credit: Glasspiegel, youtube user fivealex2014, ESPN

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