With 15-time WWE champion and movie star John Cena serving as host, the 2016 ESPY Awards will take place Wednesday night at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
Standing for “Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly,” the 24-hour sports network will hand out 31 awards ranging from Best Play, Best Male and Female Athlete, as well as Best Championship Performance, Best Upset, and Best Game.
The night will also serve as a time to honor battles away from the sports world. Long-time sports broadcaster Craig Sager, who’s been fighting acute myeloid leukemia, will receive The Jimmy V Award from Vice President Joe Biden.
The Arthur Ashe Courage Award will go to the family of Zaevion Dobson, a 15-year-old high school football player who died protecting friends from gunfire in a shooting in Knoxville, Tennessee.
ESPN will also hand the Icon Award to three retired superstars: Peyton Manning, Kobe Bryant, and Abby Wambach. Pop music artist and actor Justin Timberlake will present the award.
Filling a role normally reserved for comedians and actors, Cena is the first professional wrestler to ever host the ESPYs and he told ABC News that he considers the duties a privilege.
"I love what I do so much, and I’m not ignorant to how sports entertainment is perceived," Cena said. "So, an opportunity like this from ESPN to kind of captain the ship on the biggest night of sports and entertainment ... it’s vehicles like that that can help change perception, and I don’t look at it like a career goal, I look at it as appreciation for not just myself, for everybody."
Like the games and sports that inspire the honors, this year’s awards are too close to call. The Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry, the Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton, the Washington Nationals’ Bryce Harper, and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James are all up for Best Male Athlete and each is deserving of the award.
The same can also be said for Best Female Athlete and Best Championship Performance. UCONN women’s basketball player Breanna Stewart, the Chicago Sky’s Elena Delle Donne, gymnast Simone Biles, and swimmer Katie Ledecky can each make a strong case and any one could win.
James, who’s also up for Best NBA Player and Best Play, faces some stiff competition for Best Championship Performance. Denver Broncos linebacker and Super Bowl MVP Von Miller may be the frontrunner beside James, while U.S women’s soccer star Carli Lloyd and the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby could also walk away with the award. Here’s a full list of the nominees.
The show will be preceded by the “2016 ESPY’s Countdown” program, as stars and athletes strut down the red carpet. Stars like Manning, J.J. Watt, Timberlake, and Usher are scheduled to appear at the awards show, with the countdown beginning at 5 p.m. ET, followed by a special edition of “SportsCenter” and the red carpet resuming at 7 p.m. ET.
All of the pre-show events will air on ESPN, with live streams available on ESPN3. ABC will air the full awards show beginning at 8 p.m. ET.
Start Time: 8 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ABC
Live Streams: ESPN3