Happy Holidays, #SportBits readers!
With the year winding down, I thought I’d chime in with my top 5 sports stories of 2016.
5. The Death Of Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali died last June at the age of 74. Many feel he was the most polarizing sports figure the world has ever known. Throughout his career, Ali was criticized for both his religious and political beliefs, his stance on social issues during the 1960s and ’70s, his rejection of his “slave” name Cassius Clay, and joining the Nation of Islam.
As a heavyweight fighter, he lost over three years of his career after being convicted of draft evasion, and still fought to a 55-2 record before losing three of his final four bouts after turning 36. His career highlights are too numerous to detail here, but, for many, the Thrilla in Manila and the Rumble in the Jungle are the best examples of the greatness of the fighter who floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee.
4. Ryan Lochte’s “Over-Exaggeration”
In August, soon after the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio came to a close, Ryan Lochte admitted it was his fault that a fabricated story about a robbery caused an international scandal.
“I over-exaggerated that story and if I had never done that we wouldn’t be in this mess.” ~Ryan Lochte
The mess he is referring to is the tale of him and 3 teammates being robbed and pistol whipped at a gas station in Rio, which could have turned into a hugely embarrassing incident for the host city. It certainly was an embarrassing incident for Ryan Lochte, who was subsequently suspended from competition for 10 months.
3. Kaepernick Takes A Knee
San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick sat for the playing of the national anthem before the 49ers’ first three preseason games in protest of the rising number of African Americans shot and killed by police.
Several athletes from around the sports world soon joined in, and while there are many who disagree with his methods, many others believe in Kaepernick’s message and his right to protest. Who knows, this may be the start of more athletes speaking up about social and political issues.
2. Cleveland Wins The NBA Championship
The city of Cleveland had not won a championship in 52 years. LeBron James had returned to his hometown after winning two titles in Miami and was determined to end the drought. In 2015, the Cavaliers lost at home in six games to the Golden State Warriors. In 2016, they became the first NBA team to win a Championship after being down three games to one when James had the game of his life and the Cavs beat the Warriors 93-89.
1. Cubs Win! Cubs Win!
After 108 years of waiting, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series! The most cursed franchise finally became champions – but it wasn’t easy. With the game tied at the end of Game 7, a 17-minute rain delay stymied the Cleveland Indians’ momentum and the Cubs scored three runs and the curse was over.
Happy Holidays ~> #SportBits!