All the stars on the Purple Carpet for the 2023 Houston Sports Awards

All the stars on the Purple Carpet for the 2023 Houston Sports Awards

A “Who’s Who” of Houston star power rocked the Purple Carpet at the Houston Sports Awards.

The Wortham Theater rolled out a massive purple carpet for the 2023 Houston Sports Awards, and there was no shortage of Houston power stars on hand for the event.

Before the actual event, Houston’s most famous walked the purple carpet, doing interviews, taking pictures, and mingling with each other.

Houston Astros star third baseman Alex Bregman hosted the event and was proudly sporting a huge championship ring made for him for hosting this event. Gallery Sports’ Cara Adams caught up with him at the event.

Being inducted into the Houston Sports Hall of Fame are legendary Houston athletes Elvin Hayes, Calvin Murphy, and Bruce Matthews.

Houston Astros legend Jose Cruz was in attendance, along with his son, former MLB all-star and current Rice Owls baseball head coach Jose Cruz Jr., and his grandsons Trei (third round pick by Detroit Tigers in 2020) and Antonio (Rice Owls baseball alum).

Cal and Hannah McNair walked the purple carpet as well. While talking with ABC 13, Hannah had ABC 13 reporter Bob Slovak laughing and blushing when she answered his question of who she was most looking forward to seeing by saying him. She then said she was “fangirling” over him in a very funny moment. Cal also showed a sense of humor when asked who he was looking to lead the team answering with Dan Pastorini (who happened to be standing behind him). Both McNairs showed a friendliness and sense of humor that fans usually don’t get to see.

Gallery Sports’ Cara Adams also caught up with the McNairs.

Cal also discussed the consideration for jersey changes, stating “Luv Ya Blue” is a part of Houston culture, and they are working on getting fan input and working with the league on incorporating those colors.

Hannah referred to the Columbia blue color synonymous with the Oilers as “H-Town Blue,” explaining the color was part of Houston before the Oilers and has remained such after. H-Town is part of some of the new apparel the Texans have rolled out in the past year.

Wade Phillips, now coach of the Houston Roughnecks, presented the Coach of the Year Award. He was on the purple carpet alongside Astros legend Larry Dierker, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dierker gave several interviews on the carpet, including this one with Fox 26 sports director Mark Berman.

Seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens was also in attendance and spoke to Cara Adams.

Houston Astros owner Jim Crane was on hand as he was presented with the Executive of the Year award. He gave this update on the Astros’ GM search to Fox 26 sports director Mark Berman.


Moment of the Year goes to the Houston Astros winning the 2022 World Series was announced to Paul Wall’s How Bout Them Stros. Several Astros players, including Jose Altuve, Ryan Pressly, and Jeremy Pena, went on stage. Astros coach Joe Espada received the award and gave a short speech.

Jeff Bagwell introduced the winner of the Executive of the Year, Astros owner Jim Crane.

Bregman then announced there was another ring specially made by Diamonds International for Crane as well.

Crane praised the work ethic of his Astros players and coaches, thanked the fans for their support, and said he was honored to receive the award.

A vignette then aired playing the song Bad Boys as Elvin Hayes was fitted for his White Jacket.

Mayor Sylvester Turner came on stage, talked about the great history of Elvin Hayes, and introduced him as a member of the Houston Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2023.

Don Chaney came on stage to welcome “his best friend,” Elvin Hayes. Chaney mentioned that Hayes only missed nine games in his 16-year career and then joked that players today miss games “for a split fingernail.”

He talked about how he and Hayes were the first athletes to integrate the sports program at Houston, how they beat the varsity team as members of the freshman team (which the varsity guys didn’t like) and went undefeated their senior season.

Chaney then roasted Hayes for always having a lot to say on every topic and for being a gear grinder on his Ford Mustang in college.

Hayes was then presented with the White Jacket and a custom-made Hall of Fame ring.

Hayes thanked Coach Guy V. Lewis for finding him and Tilman Fertitta for bringing him back to Houston, among others. He also said he met his wife Erna at UH.

Hayes said Coach Sampson tells his players, “Elvin Hayes dug a well, and now everybody’s drinking from it.” Crowd applauded.

The goalkeepers of the Houston Dynamo and Houston Dash then came on stage to present the College Athlete of the Year Award.

Marcus Sasser was announced as the winner. Marcus was unable to attend because the Houston Cougars are playing tonight, but he recorded a short video thanking his coaches.

Alex Bregman then introduced a vignette honoring those lost last year, including John Drew, Mickey Gilley, Bill Russell, Vin Scully, John David Crow, Charlie Frazier, Jamey Rootes, Takeoff, Mike Leach, Paul Silas, Darius Lee, and Eric Thomas.

A host of military personnel came on stage to introduce 10-year military veteran and Paralympic Gold and Silver medalist Kari Miller-Ortiz as the winner of the Insperity Inspiration Award.

Miller-Ortiz lost both her legs when she was hit by a drunk driver in 1999. She became not only a medal-winning Paralympic athlete but a motivational speaker.

Gallery Sports’ own Hall of Fame writer, “The General” John McClain, came to the stage to begin the introduction of Bruce Matthews to the Houston Sports Hall of Fame. McClain remarked that Matthews never missed a game in 19 years due to injury and went to a record 14 consecutive Pro Bowls.

McClain then introduced Matthews’ seven children to present their father Bruce for the Hall of Fame.

Luke Matthews introduced 10 former NFL players known as The Players Choir to celebrate Matthews’ induction with a rendition of Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” and they absolutely ROCKED IT.

Matthews came to get his White Jacket and award, and Alex Bregman showed him a video of his custom-made Houston Sports Hall of Fame ring.

Original Texan Seth Payne introduced Wade Phillips and Jackie Sherrill to introduce the Coach of the Year.

Sherrill took a moment to honor Phillips’ father, Bum Phillips as an all-time great coach.

They announced the winner of the Coach of the Year as Astros manager Dusty Baker. Baker was unable to attend and sent in a video of appreciation.

Houston rapper Paul Wall came on stage and performed “How Bout Them Stros.”

Afterward, he introduced iconic Houston businessman and philanthropist Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale. Mack is the founder of Gallery Furniture and Gallery Sports. Wall also referred to Mack as “Gangsta Mack.”

Known for his promotions involving large bets on Houston area teams, Mack came on stage to Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler.”

Mack mentioned how he was inspired by Kari Miller-Ortiz (Inspiration Award Winner) and how he needed some inspiration because he lost a few big bets recently, again drawing applause from the crowd.

Mack explained how he felt fortunate to present the Sportsmanship Award, considering the small incident he was involved with in Philadelphia during the World Series, and the crowd cheered.

He expressed how unlike himself, Jose Altuve was able to handle the Philly fans without using “Philly words.” He would just turn to them and say, “I can’t hear you.”

Mack then introduced Jose Altuve as the Sportsmanship Award winner.

Seth Payne introduced Bill Worrell to present the Lifetime Achievement Award to Larry Dierker.

Worrell told the story of Dierker being the first face of the Houston baseball franchise, first as the Colt .45s and then as the Astros.

Worrell reminisced of Dierker’s first game, on his 18th birthday, striking out the side, including Bobby Bonds and Willie Mays.

Worrell then introduced Dierker to the crowd as the Lifetime Achievement Award winner.

Dierker set his award down on the stage floor to start talking, and Worrell acted like it was Thor’s Hammer and too heavy for him to lift, getting cheers from the crowd.

The “Bad Boys” song came back on with a video showing Bill Worrell informing Calvin Murphy he was going to be inducted into the Houston Sports Hall of Fame.

A video of Shaquille O’Neal congratulating Murphy was shown. Shaq teased Calvin about burning some of his ugly suits.

King Marino came out to perform a song written for Murphy’s induction.

Rudy Tomjanovich came to the stage, sporting his own White Jacket, to introduce the final Hall of Fame Inductee of the evening, Calvin Murphy.

Rudy T talked about rooming with Murphy during their rookie season and how they became great friends and are essentially like family, as he introduced Calvin.

Bregman came out to show Calvin a video of his custom-made Houston Sports Hall of Fame ring. (These rings are AWESOME!)

The crowd was cheering Murphy before he could even start speaking.

Murphy told the story of how Guy V. Lewis offered him a scholarship to play at the University of Houston, but he turned him down, saying he would never go to Houston for any reason, then here he is 54 years later.

Murphy said every time Lewis saw him, he would tell him, “You owe me four years!” generating laughs and applause.

Astros closer Ryan Pressly entered the stage to Johnny Cash’s “God’s Gonna Cut You Down.” Pressly said the last time he came out to that song, the Astros won the World Series, which drew cheers.

Pressly announced the winner of the Athlete of the Year Award as Yordan Alvarez.

Alvarez was not in attendance but recorded a video in Spanish with subtitles.

Bregman then came out to join Pressly and honored former Houston Texans team president Jamey Rootes, who lost his battle with mental health last year. Bregman then brought to the stage former Texans linebacker Whitney Mercilus and legendary Houston rapper Bun B.

Mercilus discussed his struggles with anxiety, and Bun B discussed the silent suffering of people with mental health struggles.

A video then played describing that despite the championship moments that are seen, there is a tremendous amount of struggle and sacrifice to try to get there that is not seen. Mental health can be a battle fought by anyone in the sports world and the real world. It was a very powerful video that closed with cameos from every star and award nominee in attendance.

Mercilus then reintroduced The Players Choir, who came on to perform a rendition of Bill Withers’ “Lean On Me,” and they absolutely rocked it.

It suddenly got a bit dusty in the theater during this performance as those in attendance stood and sang along, holding signs that were placed on their seats.

Bregman returned to the front of the stage to close the show and congratulate the newest members of the Houston Sports Hall of Fame and told everyone he put a gift for them in their cars.

The Choir continued to perform to close the show for a great touch of an ending.

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