A trifecta of bunnies, booze and boxing at the Playboy Mansion helped kick off a week of festivities in L.A. for the ESPY Awards, honoring the year’s best in sports. The pre-party at Hef’s place was the hot ticket, luring folks like Sugar Ray Leonard, who goofed off with George Shandling, and court queen Maria Sharapova, who towered over 98% of the men there, including new friend Matthew Perry.
The Style Lounge, a swag-a-thon at the Mondrian, was also set up with freebies and styling services for Andy Roddick, femme racecar driver Danica Patrick and other VIPs. “We’ve got the best in sports, Hollywood, pop culture and style,” gushed ESPN’s senior VP of programming, Len DeLuca.
Wednesday evening, Perry emceed at the Kodak Theater, kicking off the show by losing his pants and likening his erratic behavior to Tom Cruise’s recent rants. Things got serious, however, when Oprah Winfrey tearfully presented the Arthur Ashe Courage Award to disabled athletes Jim MacLaren and Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah.
More action unfolded backstage in the Athletes Lounge, where the “Entourage” boys drank beer and watched the show on plasma screens while Emmy nominee Jeremy Piven was deep in conversation with Eva Mendes. “Friday Night Lights” director Peter Berg clung to his trophy for best sports film, and Penny Marshall confabbed with a few Lakers, who asked, “Where’ve you been all season?”