METAIRIE -- Jarrius Robertson has never met Peyton Manning.

But Robertson -- or Lil' JJ, as most call the quick-witted, 15-year-old Saints diehard -- already has a special place in his heart for Manning.

And it has nothing to do with the quarterback's record-setting, Hall of Fame-caliber career.

"It's because he threw that interception," Robertson quipped, referring to the play in Super Bowl XLIV that helped give JJ's Saints their first NFL title.

Manning and Robertson will share the stage tonight at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles as part of the ESPYS awards, giving the show some New Orleans flavor.

Manning, a New Orleans native, will host ESPN's 25th annual awards show, which recognizes the best of the best in the world of sports.

Robertson, who lives in Reserve, will receive the Jimmy V Perseverance Award after battling a chronic liver disease before receiving a liver transplant in April. Despite his illness, Robertson kept an upbeat personality that helped him garner national attention as he danced and joked on the sideline at Saints games.

Manning is one of a few former athletes to be chosen as host of the show. It's a spot typically reserved for actors and comedians, but he joins a short list that includes Lance Armstrong, LeBron James and John Cena.

"I'm looking forward to having some fun doing it," Manning said.

He also suggested that Wednesday's show may be a chance for him to get a little revenge for all the athletes who have been ribbed by comedians hosting the show over the years.

"If you're an actor or comedian out there, you better look out," he warned. "If you've been in a bad movie recently, be prepared."

Manning, of course, has been on the big stage before. In addition to playing in three Super Bowls, he has hosted "Saturday Night Live" and has been in numerous commercials.

For Robertson, it'll be his first trip to Los Angeles. But he has had his moments in the spotlight as well. He has appeared on "Good Morning America," presented at the NFL honors show, made an appearance at a WWE event and scored two points in the celebrity game during NBA All-Star weekend.

Robertson will share the stage with his father, Jordy. The two will speak on the importance of organ donation.

"The best part about this whole trip is us bringing awareness to organ donations," Jordy Robertson said. "I know what it took to get his liver, and I want other people who need transplants to be able to get theirs. It's an honor to be able to do it on such a big stage for the world."

The show, which airs on ABC at 7 p.m., could have one other Louisiana connection. Haughton native Dak Prescott, after a stellar rookie season as the Dallas Cowboys' quarterback, is nominated for Best Breakthrough Athlete.