Favorite teams and athletes somehow represent personal traits and qualities of individuals and cities, so for the ardent sports fan, one of the easiest things to forget is that ultimately, sports are about entertainment. For the past 19 years, the nations leader in sports broadcasting-the network ESPN-merges the two worlds, by bringing some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment for their 19th Annual ESPY Awards.

The city of Dallas had a big night as the Mavericks-who disposed of two of the NBA’s most hated payers, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, in route to their fist NBA Championship-were honored for Best Team. Mavericks Coach Rick Carlisle took home an ESPY for Best Coach, and Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki won Best NBA Player and Best Male Athlete (the first NBA Player to win in the latter category since Michael Jordan at the first ESPYs in 1993). Tennis ace Serena Williams Won Best Female Tennis Player, her sixth ESPY win. Locally, the sole winners were the New York Giants, who shared the award with the Philadelphia Eagles for Best Game, in which the Eagles rallied to beat the Giants by scoring 28 points in the final 7:18 of the game to win 38-31.

The Special Awards winners bring a human element to the super-human veneer that athletes are perceived to have. Anthony Robles received the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance, in honor of the late Jim Valvano and The V Foundation for Cancer Research. Robles recently finished his career as the best amateur wrestler in the country by winning the 125-pound NCAA title despite being born with one leg. Jay Leno presented the award to Robles, who also won an ESPY for Best Male Athlete with a Disability. While it was his accomplishments that were being lauded, Robles was quick to acknowledge the person from whom he got his motivation-his mom. “I was born with a disability and my mother could have walked out on me and given me up for adoption. But she didn’t. She taught me never to let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do,” Robles enthused.

The Arthur Ashe Courage Award, which recognizes individuals whose contributions transcend sports, was awarded to Dewey Bozella. Bozella’s story is unlike the stories of the many brothers and sisters who are currently littered throughout the penal system, nationwide, under false pretenses. Bozella was an alleged murderer who found strength and purpose through boxing during his 26 years of imprisonment. Bozella surmised, “The late, great trainer Cus D’Amato once said ‘The hero and the coward both feel the same thing, but the hero uses his fear, projects it onto his opponent, while the coward runs.’ That’s a metaphor for life. Never let fear determine who you are. Never let where you come from determine where you are going. Every day I had to ask myself that-everyday while in Sing Sing, a place where hate and anger are the order of the day. I didn’t merely want to survive, I wanted to thrive. Boxing awakened me and I felt free during my workouts.” The award, which Kiefer Sutherland presented to Bozella and his family, honored the courage and conviction that led Bozella to the ultimate path of freedom. Now that he’s home. Bozella would like to share the physical and mental discipline of boxing with youth of his upstate New York neighborhood. Although the local gym has closed (much like Fort Apache gym in the Bronx), Dewey plans to open a new one. Given the obstacles he previously overcame, that should be a piece of cake.

Over and out for me. Headed home just in time for the Rahsaan Patterson/Avery Sunshine show at B.B. King’s on Saturday, July 23. Holla in seven days. Until then, enjoy the nightlife.