Quick: think of how a movie is deemed legendary.  How many Oscars it won, right?  How about an album?  Grammys, or if you’re 15 years old, MTV Moonmen.

Now think of how athletes and teams are deemed legendary.  MVP awards and championships?

Notice how we judge greatness in sports differently than other forms of entertainment?  For the past 17 years ESPN has been trying to get us to reward sports greatness the same way we reward movie, music and television greatness: an over-the-top awards show with a somewhat comedic host.

Why do we need to give athletes more awards than the ones they earn in their respective sports?  LeBron James won the NBA MVP award this year, so why is there a Best NBA Player ESPY category?

Why does ESPN try to compare completely different sports and completely different achievements?  Take tonight’s nominees for Best Record-Breaking Performance: Usain Bolt, 100 and 200-meter World Records, Brett Favre, NFL record for consecutive starts, Roger Federer, Most Grand Slam singles titles, Connecticut Women’s Basketball, Longest winning streak in Women’s NCAA Basketball History and Isner vs. Mahut at Wimbledon, Longest Match in Professional Tennis History.  How do you even compare those achievements?  How do you say the two records Bolt broke in under 30 seconds combined are any better or worse than something Favre has been working on since 1992?

I’m sure the ESPY supporters will argue that the awards are the fans’ chance to voice their opinion on sports world.  There’s a reason why fans don’t vote for MVPs and other post-season awards.  Fans are some of the most biased people around.  They vote for hometown heroes and big names, regardless of actual performance.  Every year there are stories about up-and-coming players who play in small markets getting snubbed out of the MLB All-Star game for some aging, big name veteran.  Do we really need an entire award show with this mentality?

However, I will applaud the ESPYS for donating a portion of its proceeds to the V Foundation in honor the late, great Jimmy Valvano.  Almost everyone is affected by cancer in one way or another and the V Foundation is a great charity to support.

The one other redeeming quality of the ESPYS is the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, easily the best award given out at the ceremony, and the only one not voted on by fans.  The video feature about the recipient is always guaranteed to be a tearjerker and the best moment of the show.

Aside from those two aspects, the ESPYS are nothing more than athletes thanking their fans and topical humor.  The only reason they still exist is so sports fans have something to talk about the one day of the year without any MLB, NBA, NFL or NHL games or events.

It’s not like athletes need any more praise than they already receive.  Number of ESPYS won doesn’t seem to be a talking point when debating the greatest athletes, nor is it a credential for any hall of fame.

I’d rather watch an hour-long special on the Arthur Ashe Courage Award winner tonight and do away with the rest of the awards.  So just forget they exist and maybe they’ll go away.

Tyler