By Dan Shanoff
Page 2 columnist

Live from watching the red carpet on TV in a cramped apartment, it wouldn't be a star-studded night of sartorial awards-show splendor without Page 2 putting on its best Joan Rivers face (we got an old one from her plastic surgeon's Dumpster) and giving the once-over to the celebs on the carpet at the 2002 ESPY Awards:

The Athletes
Serena Williams
Serena Williams served up a winner with her purple Versace gown.

Serena Williams was spectacular in purple Versace and with enough ice around her neck to cryogenically freeze her competition. ... Kobe Bryant is Michael Jordan's heir in the fashion department -- the guy could wear a paper bag well. Yet we wonder: Was it so hot in the theater that he had to take his jacket off? He was the only one. And the too-cool-for-school "sunglasses indoors" look is as out as the 2002 NBA Playoffs. ...

Considering his girlfriend Carol Alt is a model, actress and no stranger to red carpets, Alexi Yashin deserved better advice than to be the only athlete featured in a full-on my-dad-lent-me-the-car-for-the-prom bow-tie tuxedo. ... If it's possible, Sarah Hughes managed to maintain the adorableness from February in a simple red dress. ...

Meanwhile, white ties were all the rage with the great QBs -- from the Zegna-dressing, girlfriend-dissing Tom Brady to the "my wife dressed me, thank God, but our hair is still a little too similar" Kurt Warner. ... Speaking of 'dos: Incredibly enough, Bruce Jenner's hair is exactly the same as it was in 1976. ...

More on hair: Ohno! Goatees are out, Steve Nash co-opted your stylist and short-track speed-skating will be hip again in, oh, four years. ... If you were watching the E! red-carpet show, you caught a glimpse of Gary Payton dressed in a jaw-dropping black leather coat with wide white pinstripes, combined with a white T-shirt. He looked like an extra in the Shaq Shaft-parody Burger King commercial. ...

And finally: it was a coming out party for WNBA star-in-making Sue Bird. Now if she'll only drop that flake Nick Carter. ...

The Celebrities
Some ESPY-goers were dressed up and some were dressed down, but sophisticated styling took a backseat to funky sass for Bootsy Collins, who provided the night's most interesting outfit on the red carpet: a shimmery blue suit with a matching blue hat that screamed "funk!" (or, perhaps, "blind me!") with the traditional stars-in-the-lenses funk-glasses. But you can't judge Bootsy without his friend Catfish the Clown, who brought out a purple and gold clownsuit ("the new look for players," he boasted to Joan Rivers) to go with his red wig and red clown nose. Well, glory be, the funk's on them!

Bootsy Collins and Catfish the Clown
Catfish the Clown and Bootsy Collins brought out the funk.

Apparently, Snoop Dogg was listening to Catfish's fashion tips, because he strode onto the stage for the show's big finale decked in full purple-and-gold Laker regalia, including an old-school purple Lakers lid and a faux-hockey jersey with "3peat" brandished across the front and "Snoopy Bryant" on the back. We wonder if Mr. Dogg paid his royalty to trademark-holder (and sports-fashion Hall of Famer) Pat Riley?

Other notable celeb sightings: Vivica A. Fox looked just that in a revealing low-cut red number from some designer appropriately named Dan. ... We can't say enough about one of our all-time awards-fashion faves, Angela Bassett, who brought the glitter to the show in a stunning lace/sequined combination. ...

Could newlywed Shannon Elizabeth have looked any hotter than in that blue dress she had on? ... Heidi Klum, dressed down in a white tank top and some jangly belt by Chanel. Surprised Joan by "revealing" that she's been married for five years. ...

Brian McKnight -- apparently a tough matchup on the L.A. celeb-hoops scene -- brought out an original purple look. (More props to the NBA champs?) ... Again we ask: why is Sue Bird with Nick Carter? ...

The Spouses, Siblings and Significant Others
Is there any place to start except with Bruce Jenner's wife, Chris? While purple-and-gold work for Snoop and Catfish, her leather Lakers jacket shouted "Got this with a magazine subscription!" But then we lost our train of thought after we checked out the situation going on under the jacket. Or should we say, "popping out of ...." Maybe hubby Mr. Wheaties made her throw the jacket on before she left the house in anticipation of being, uh, revealed on national TV? ...

Angela Bassett
Angela Bassett brought the glitter to the show.

Just a twitch down the mortification meter, how uncomfortable did Super Bowl Brady look as Joan quizzed him on the lovely creature accompanying him to the show. The mysterious Pink Lady was none other than his sister, a declaration made in nearly the same breath that Gentleman Tom described his girlfriend as just "a friend back in Massachusetts." Ouch! Now there's your incompletion. ...

Meanwhile, Joan managed to steam The Rookie, when she asked Mr. Quaid if he and his date-slash-girlfriend, Anna (in a simple-yet-pretty purple dress) were "serious." Yikes! ...

Among the other notable companions were Mrs. Curt Schilling in an interesting black look and the whole Ripken clan, looking sharp. One question: Where was Angie Harmon, Jason? She's a fan fave!

ESPY host Samuel L. Jackson
Sam brought out four different outfits throughout the evening. He's no Whoopi Goldberg at the Oscars, but then again, he can whup our ass, so we've got nothing more to say other than to rank the outfits:

  • No. 4. Black vest, white shirt, black trademark cap. We respect that he had to quick-change out of his intro-scene outfit into more host-worthy duds, but it lacked a little something.

  • No. 3. Black cardigan, white shirt, pink tie, black cap. The cardigan was a little dowdy-looking, but the pink tie was a bold choice.

  • No. 2. Black leather sweatsuit with gray highlights, gray cap. He looked like he was coming from a game of gin rummy at the Del Boca Vista, but it takes guts to try.

  • No. 1. Tan suit, white skull-cap. Innovative, interesting, a winner.

Props to SLJ and the production team for the insert-Sam-into-popular-sports-movies segments, one of the highlights of the show.

All-ESPY Fashion Team (Men)
Barry Bonds

Bootsy Collins

Samuel L. Jackson

Gary Payton

Jason Sehorn

All-ESPY Fashion Team (Women)
Angela Bassett

Tom Brady's sister

Jennifer Capriati

Kelly Clark (Action Sports Athlete of the Year)

Serena Williams

Dan Shanoff is a columnist for Page 2. His "What's Hot, What's Not" trend-spotting list appears each Thursday. He most recently waxed sartorial about the 2002 NBA Draft attendees, and he sincerely hopes that Joan Rivers never interrogates him about his love interest on national TV.




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THE STYLE FILE