Kids' Choice Sports: Athletes Make Inaugural Event a Family Affair as David Beckham (and Sons) Get Slimed
The slime flowed heavily on Thursday night at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion, but not just for the stars making appearances at the inaugural Kids' Choice Sports Awards. Kids standing at floor level around the stage were drenched with the mysterious green goo following Florida Georgia Line's halftime performance and again at the end of the show.
Everything about the awards show was tailored to make it enjoyable for children, from the "orange" carpet painted with football yard-lines to the Nickelodeon-themed arm sleeves and foam Mohawk headpieces, which staffers gave away to kids in attendance. The kids' excitement was palpable when the first stars began to arrive. Marshawn Lynch was among the first at the scene and rewarded the screams of admiration from his young fans with high fives and photographs. Later, Kevin Durant — best male athlete winner at both the Kids Choice Awards and ESPYs — signed kids' armsleeves as he made his way along the orange carpet.
Most of the stars who are parents brought their kids to the show, and winners such as Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and David Beckham even took them up on stage to claim their awards. In fact, Wade's well-dressed son looked even more fitting to receive the "King of Swag" award than the three-time NBA Champion himself. But even those athletes who aren't parents got into the child-like spirit of the awards. Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas said before the show that the event she was most looking forward to was seeing the first person get slimed, with friend Wade topping her list of slime hopefuls. Olympic skier Julia Mancuso hoped to see fellow winter Olympian Apolo Anton Ohno get slimed so she could "rouse him afterwards."
The men of Florida Georgia Line, who are self-proclaimed "big kids at heart," said that they've been looking forward to seeing the slime fall for weeks. Brian Kelley admitted on the orange carpet that he had touched a bit of the stuff earlier that day when he noticed it on the stage floor: "It was everything that I thought it would be," he said. "I think they're going to love it," added Tyler Hubbard. And although they said they likely wouldn't be making cameo appearances on Nickelodeon TV shows anytime soon with their busy touring schedule, they joked around about appearing on SpongeBob SquarePants: "Tyler would probably be a seahorse; I'd be a Great White," said Kelley. Later, Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks and nominee for favorite newcomer joined in the fun when he took some time away from interviews to shoot hoops with the kids at the mini-basketball court set up near the end of the carpet.
Although the stars were all excited to see their peers get slimed, no one seemed to be all that excited to get slimed themselves. "I'm not exactly hoping that I get slimed, so hoping to stay clear of that one," surfing star Bethany Hamilton said with a laugh. And the athletes all had their own opinions of what was in the slime itself. Hamilton's co-star in Dolphin Tale 2, Nathan Gamble, postulated that the ingredients might be "children's tears and general sadness" that are then "morphed into slime." When asked if he would like to see his favorite sports star, Wilson, get slimed, he exclaimed, "No, no, no! Someone else like a 49er's guy." Beckham — who would receive the dubious honor of the first ever gold slime dousing — said, "I'm sure [what's in the slime], it's not great."
But the longtime soccer star was proud to face the slime when honored with another first, the Legend Award. Although he doesn't necessarily consider himself a legend, he said, "When you come to the end of your career and you do get awards that are for being a legend, it means a lot. Especially when it's voted for by the kids." He added that his own kids Romeo and Cruz were very excited to be there and see him get the award, but he admitted that they were even more excited to see him get slimed. Nickelodeon, however, made it a family affair and was gracious enough to slime all three of them with the golden goop. Luckily, Beckham brought an extra outfit for the ride home. "I was warned just to bring a change of clothes, just in case," he said. (Hopefully he brought extra clothes for his two boys as well.)
Douglas was also excited about her award nominations, even equating getting a blimp with receiving an Olympic medal: "Oh my gosh! It would definitely compare because I've always wanted a blimp! I hope I get one because I love those things, so it would definitely make my day," she said. She ended up getting two: best female athlete and "Queen of Swag."
But putting their own fun aside, the athletes and other celebrities in attendance spoke about how excited they were to be part of an event that puts kids first. Hamilton, who ended up winning the award for best comeback, talked about how meaningful it was to her to be a role model for aspiring athletes whom are forced to overcome adversity. "I was really excited to be a part of the Kids' Choice awards. I think it's so awesome for kids to experience seeing their biggest heroes and people who have either overcome or accomplished a lot. And a lot of us started at their age just dreaming to become amazing athletes."
Others, like Gamble and race car driver Tristan Nunez, noted that athletes also serve as role models for kids in physical fitness.
Singer Mario added that all celebrities, regardless of occupation, have a responsibility to be positive role models for kids. "For me it's just about that; spreading good energy," he said about how he fulfills that role. In his upcoming revival of the musical, Hair, "There's a song called 'My Conviction,'" he says, "that talks about telling kids to be free; free in their thoughts, free in their creativity. … A lot of times kids have these fears that adults put on them, and kids should be able to live free. They should be able to live free of any fear because that's what's going to ultimately mold them into being who they're supposed to be."
Pharrell Williams ended the awards show on a high note, quite literally, when he strolled through the crowd of kids singing his hit song "Happy" at the show's finale — a gesture that seemed to sum up the message of the entire day: Kids rock.
See the complete list of winners here.