For Tracy Morgan, hosting the ESPYs is personal. It’s not just another gig to the comedian.
The star of TBS’s ‘‘The Last O.G.’’ will preside over Wednesday night’s show honoring the past year’s top athletes, performances, and achievements. It airs live on ABC from Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
‘‘The main reason I really wanted to do it is the fight against cancer,’’ Morgan said in a recent phone interview, explaining that his grandparents and former wife, Sabina, died of the disease. ‘‘I have an opportunity to fight their cause and I’m all in.’’
Besides the laughs, the ESPYs raise awareness and funds for the V Foundation for Cancer Research. It’s the charity founded by ESPN and the late basketball coach Jim Valvano at the first show in 1993. The cable sports network has helped raise nearly $97 million for the V Foundation in 26 years.
One Boston athlete up for ESPYs this year: Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts, who’s nominated for Best Male Athlete and Best MLB Player.
Patriots’ QB Tom Brady did not snag an ESPY nomination for Best Male Athlete this year (he only led the team to yet another Super Bowl victory, but sure). He did get the nom last year, but lost to NHL star Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals.
Last month marked five years since Morgan’s life-changing accident on the New Jersey Turnpike when the minibus he was riding in was rear-ended by a Walmart truck. The crash killed friend and fellow comedian James McNair.
‘‘I’m 50 years old and I’ve been hit by a truck doing 75 mph,’’ Morgan said. ‘‘I thank God for every day.’’
He becomes the fifth ‘‘Saturday Night Live’’ alum to host the ESPYs, joining Seth Meyers, Rob Riggle, Dennis Miller, and Norm Macdonald.