By: Joe “Cartright” Cardoso
As we wrap up 2016 what an amazing year in sports it was, we saw everything you could think of happen didn’t we fans? Team USA dominated the games in Rio, the Cubs broke a curse I never thought they would, and a lot of legends said goodbye. Unfourtenaly we had some horrible off the field stories grab headlines as well but such is the world we live in. But as an eternal optimist, I see the glass of sports drink half full and without further ado (in no order) here are my top ten sports moments/stories of 2016!
- The Cubs WIN the World Series! It still sounds strange to anyone BUT Cubs fans, what a season for the cubbies and it ended in a drama-filled game 7. Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon guided a talented group to 103 wins and a pennant. A mid-season trade with the Yankees for Aroldis Chapman to sure up the bullpen and with too many clutch performances to name. This to me was an epic story with all the years that have passed since their last title. The videos on social media of fans sharing this moment with family both living and dead was surreal. As I always say sometimes it’s bigger than sports. Now if only they can get the old Jason Heyward and make up for the loss of Dexter Flower……FLY THE W BABY!
- One last time the Black Mamba STRIKES! In the final game of his career in what would be described as the perfect Hollywood ending Kobe Bryant lit up the Denver Nuggets for 60 points, he was letting them fly and the Nuggets had NO answer. With a who’s, who in the stands watching Snoop Dog, Kayne West, Jack Nicklinson all loved it. For a man who could always get buckets and would not show any mercy to anyone it was a fitting end. He is one of many legends that walked away from the game in 2016. If you are a 90’s kid this year REALLY made us all feel and realize how old, we are haha.
- So, who was it that said the Big East was dead? College Basketball has changed a lot with this whole one and done era. Coaches have little time to put together a team and get them to gel and play together. But it also has created a lot of 3 and 4-year players who in the old days would be a role player to the level of glue guys and borderline stars, which I think is very cool. Led by one of the best-dressed coaches NOT named Rick Pitino Jay Wright and the Villanova Wildcats stunned the North Carolina Tar Heels at the BUZZER to win the National Title. Kris Jenkins will never pay for a beer or gas again in his life. It was a classic game and showed things in the world of college hoops aren’t that bad folks
- Sitting at 5,000 to 1 odds to win the Premier League title which is the top dog in the world of professional soccer. Leicester City went from the outhouse to the penthouse and won the whole thing. For those of you who do not follow the beautiful game, this is like the Cleveland Browns winning the Super Bowl. It was great to see their run and those fans were all in all season.
- The King brings his subjects a title. Has anyone is sports so far been under the white-hot spotlight more than LeBron James? He made a terrible mistake in leaving the Cavs the first time the way he did and I can’t lie he played a great role of villain in Miami. But after coming back and linking up with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love he did what seemed impossible. Not only did he break a long drought for the city but he beat the team with the most regular season wins in NBA history! Say what you want about Draymond not playing etc. either way the Warriors BLEW a 3-1 lead period and the Cavs took advantage. 1964 was a looooooong time ago and YES “Cleveland, THIS is for you.” I will not soon forget that block on Iggy Bron looked like a lion hunting down a zebra in the wild!
- Rio Olympics where do we begin? It was off the hook in terms of inspiration and feel good stories and moments. Here are a few I have Simone Biles became the most decorated female gymnast in American history, Katie Ledecky set two world records, the human fish Michael Phelps walked away with FIVE gold medals and GOAT status. Usain Bolt won 3 gold medals and showed he is STILL the man in terms of track and field. Team USA overall was a show stopper but my two biggest takeaways where that female athletes are NOT playing games and shattering that damn glass ceiling daily and it’s awesome to see and Simone Manuel may have sparked a whole generation of female African-American swimmers.
- We said goodbye to “The Greatest” the passing of Muhammad Ali in June was a sad day for all of America. We lost an icon in and out of the ring, his 32-year battle with Parkinson’s disease was inspirational. The things he stood for and how he carried himself won’t soon be done again and that alone makes him a real legend and American hero. Ali transcended sports
- The knee seen around the globe. Colin Kaepernick decided to not stand during the national anthem as a protest police brutality and unjust treatment of people of color. What began in the preseason with little media became a nationwide talking point and lines were drawn? Whether you agree with Colin or not he sparked a conversation and when you can have dialog I’m all for it.
- Peyton Manning walks off into the sunset. In his last season where we saw him benched, dogged by critics and more the Broncos defense carried him to Super Bowl 50 victory. He was not the MVP level of play we have seen but he made plays when needed. And one of the best leaves with two rings, and a storybook ending.
- Serena Williams. The GOAT won her 22nd major championship and is two away from Margaret Courts record. She won her 7th Wimbledon title and showed once again that male or female she is a beast and the most dominant athlete in her sport let alone in the world. In a common theme of 2016 girl power is real people get use to it!
Stories that were huge but did not make my list:
Cardinals executive Christopher Correa sentenced to four years in prison for hacking the Houston Astros Email.
Alabama beats Clemson for its 4th title in seven years ROLL TIDE
John Scott owning the NHL All-Star game and winning MVP
Laremy Tunsil learning that social media is NOT a game
Alexander Rossi winning the Indy 500. Who is that? Look him up!
Adam LaRoche leaving the Chicago White Sox after they asked him to “Dial Back” his son being at the team clubhouse and dugouts.
What was your best story of the year? Let’s debate and talk follow me on Twitter @Cright
And our sports blog @NutsAndBoltsSP