From Alex Rodriguez popping up casually with dumbells in hand at Equinox in West Hollywood to Jay Glazer’s Sunset Strip Unbreakable gym swelling with NFL pre-training camp sweat, the ESPYs are unmistakably in town.
After Joel McHale riffs on “Deflategate,” the victorious U.S. Women’s World Cup team and the DeAndre Jordan’s Clippers vs. Mavericks shell game on the ABC telecast Wednesday night, the assembled royalty from across the sports world will be ready to party.
ESPN has their official bash by the newly coined Microsoft Theater (formerly the Nokia), but the hot ticket is Lebron James’ party at new Hollywood outdoor nightspot Le Jardin. Warning: It will be a mess on Cahuenga.
King James traditionally hosted an NBA All-Star Weekend Party with fellow captain of pop culture Jay Z, called the “Two Kings” party. Mr. Carter’s Roc Nation Sports hosts its own party with Fabolous at 1Oak in West Hollywood after the show.
The wide receiver breakout of last season, Odell Beckham, had his own party at Le Jardin on Tuesday night, after attending the “Body at ESPYs” party at Milk Studios. Which one is that?
“There is only one party tonight … the Body party,” one scene regular told me of her scolding lesson to a lunkhead visiting pro athlete pal. “Body” ties to ESPN the Magazine’s “Body Issue,” aka the “Naked Athlete Issue,” which features over 20 athletes from all of sports stylishly photographed without a wardrobe department.
At Tuesday night’s 1,400 person upscale cocktail and bottle service celebration at MILK Studios, a new location after years at Lure and downtown, the Run-DMC-style fedora was one of the more popular male fashion statements of the night. Former Bronco Julius Thomas was in that uniform.
Hope Solo, Megan Rapinoe and “Body” subject Ali Krieger floated freely, and unlike most Hollywood parties, the most sparse section of all was the smoking patio. An hour in to the event, it was a ghost town.
On-brand, ESPN and event producer Tony Schubert thoughtfully had several “Hydration Stations” (read: water coolers with self-serve plastic cups) throughout the venue, a Hollywood rarity.
Fetty Wap (152 million Spotify streams on his “Trap Queen” hit alone) performed a blink-and-you-missed it set around 11:30, amidst DJ sets by Eryka Badhu (with a huge head of hair), DJ Khaled and local favorite Tendaji Lathan.
While Beckham Jr. flossed with a prime table and a sparkly gold watch, the athlete who performed the most viewed play of the year (maybe all time?) and altered the Super Bowl in a half second was stealth. New England Patriot Malcolm Butler cut through the crowd like a running back with just one pal in tow. His larger-in-stature and larger-in-decibel teammate Rob Gronkowski was sadly a no-show.
After giving Conan O’Brien a rapid-fire flurry of jabs to his abs on Tuesday night, Lindsey Vonn made the scene, mingling not too far from fellow Olympian Tara Lipinski. Grantland was well represented with David Jacoby and Juliet Litman (of the under-celebrated “The Right Reasons” reality TV and “Food News” podcasts) and recent President Obama interviewer, Rembert Browne.
Keeping with the photoshoot theme of the issue, ESPN and Schubert converted the home of the amfAR galas and Tom Ford runway shows in to three rooms, putting guests nearly inside a film cell, with projections on the walls. Museum-sized portraits lined the museum-sized arrivals hall. (Schubert also imagineers the worldwide leader’s massive Super Bowl parties too.)
As part of the ESPY day Jimmy V Cancer Research Fundraising Auction, an official package of tickets to ESPN’s next Super Bowl party in San Francisco is already going for $1,625).
The ESPYs air on ABC on Wednesday night, July 15, at 8 p.m. ET.