Like the worst of your friends and family members, I emerge towards the holidays looking to piggyback good tiding and cheer, not to mention casual encounters between me, mistletoe and Jane Doe. I offer no more of an explanation than to just say I am only now getting my bearings from the still ongoing Cubs championship party. As the confetti from the parade is now being blown away by chilly Chicago wind and I’m faced with reality. I have no choice but to reflect. To reflect on a 2016 that offered some all time sports moments. So right on cue with the eventual flood of “New Year, new me” cliche’s, and several other corny 2016 year in reflection moments, I give you my “Top 5 Sports Moments Of The Year.” Drum roll.
5. Lochte-Gate The 2016 Olympic games had some very triumphant moments. But nothing captured the imagination of the world like the soap opera provided by Ryan Lochtes’ exploits outside of competition. In an attempt to cover up belligerent behavior, Lochte fabricated a tale of robbery. A black eye had already been earned by Rio for the environmental concerns with water and disease. Added to that were the tales of crime and violence against Olympic athletes. Instead of admitting to drunken behavior, Lochte let his imagination run free. Before it was all over there was talk of Lochte not being able to leave the country as Rio authorities didn’t take too kind to the portrayal Lochte bestowed upon them.
4. Kobe Rides Off Into The Sunset The NBA and its fans were finally able to give Kobe his proper respect as he took a season long swan song around the NBA. Revered as one the fiercest competitors the game has ever seen, fans and opponents alike all lined up to say goodbye to the “Mamba.” In true Kobe fashion, Bryant didn’t disappoint erupting for 60 points in his final game. 3. Don’t Mean A Thing If You Don’t Get The Ring Staying with the NBA for
#3, The Cleveland Cavaliers spoiled the Golden State Warriors magical season, coming back from down 3-1 to win the first sports championship for the city of Cleveland in over 50 years. Only a year earlier, the Warriors had topped the Cavs and they followed that up by posting the highest single season win total in NBA history with 73 wins. They looked poised to repeat as NBA champions after coming back from their own 3-1 deficit in the Western Conference Finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder. In their way stood the Cavs who were eager to avenge the Finals defeat from the year before. King James delivered, bringing the Cavs back and cementing his own place in NBA history.
2. On Bended Knee The NFL is a headline machine with its on field action but the 2016 NFL season has been branded by the actions that took place before the game. San Francisco 49er QB Colin Kapernick’s protest of bad government and unfair treatment of people of color went viral. Kapernick, by refusing to stand for the national anthem divided many. Played against the backdrop of a presidential election, every one had an opinion. Some were offended by his actions and some followed his actions, as players across sports kneeled with him. Matching the social climate of the country, the platform provided by the NFL put the conversation on the front page.
1. “I’n Afraid Of No Goat” For 108 years Cubs fans watched World Series champion after World Series champion celebrate a seat atop baseballs seasonal mountain. But it’s hard to be neither good nor lucky in 108 years. Eventually you have to be creative when finding ways to lose for that long. Enter the “curse of the billy goat,” not to be out done by the antics of one Steve Bartman. But in a World Series worthy of any Oscar deemed dramatic performance, the Cubs captured the championship in a historic seven game series against the also title thirsty Cleveland Indians. Over 5 million people attended the victory parade making it the seventh largest gathering in human history. 108 years can do that. Go Cubs!!!
By Marcus Carter
Heroes Media Group Sports