HOLLYWOOD — The inaugural Billies, given by the Women in Sports Foundation to recognize excellence in media coverage of women’s sports and physical activity, went off with all the pomp and circumstance of a well-established show Thursday at the BevHilton.
It even added some bells and whistles of its own, complete with swimmer Diana Nyad tooting a horn. Laila Ali started off the Grand March of Athletes, strutting her stuff catwalk style. She was followed by more mellow marchers Amanda Beard, Misty May-Treanor, Maria Sharapova, Peggy Fleming, Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain.
Tennis legend and Billies’ namesake Billie Jean King said, “I can’t believe they named them after me,” while Sharon Stone raised $300,000 for the org and even managed to get a plug in for “Basic Instinct 2”: “Have you seen it?Please do. I’m marvelous in it,” she quipped.
Sports producer Bud Greenspan was feted with the influential personality nod and, after watching clips of his illustrious career, asked, “I wonder why I’m still broke.”
Elton John wrapped up the ceremonies with an eight-song set including “Crocodile Rock.”