With 2016 coming to an end, it's time to look back at the best moments of the year. The moments that I picked for this was moments that made me say "Wow! That was dope as hell!"
Leicester City Wins Premier League
Over the last couple of years, I've become a moderate soccer fan. I wouldn't call myself an expert or analyst, I just enjoy seeing the passion displayed by the players and fans, so when a team that is equivalent to the Cleveland Browns in the NFL wins their league title, I thought it was a big deal. Leicester City didn't just win a typical league, they won the Premier League - the most prestigious soccer league in the world. They had a team salary of a mere $55 million, beating out big spenders Chelsea ($247 million), Manchester United ($233 million), and Manchester City ($222 million). Jaime Vardy was also named the league's player of the year, which was also another amazing feat during their memorable season. It is a true underdog story that I think will be more appreciated as time goes on. This was definitely one of the dopest moments of 2016.
Peyton Manning retires a champion
Peyton Manning final season was not something to brag about. He only started 9 games, had the worse QB rating of his career (67.9), and finished with more interception than touchdowns for the first time since his rookie season. What I'll remember though is him winning his final game to capture his second Super Bowl. There aren't many players that can have a career like Manning, become one of the greatest athletes of a generation, and then win a championship before retiring. Those type of storybook endings are far and few between. Everyone wanted to Peyton retire a champ like Ray Lewis did in 2013, so it was only right.
Cavaliers win NBA Finals
I'm not a fan of LeBron James or the Cavaliers. I didn't even enjoy the 2016 NBA Finals because it was filled with blowouts, a player was suspended for nothing, and the MVP of the league for the second year in a row didn't perform. None the less, I was impressed with Game 7 and how Kyrie took the soul out of Oracle Arena with his stepback three-pointer over Steph Curry to win the game. Also seeing the Cavs comeback from down 1-3 against the team that won 73 games was dope, I just wish the Warriors played their best basketball.
Women's Gymnastics Team
The U.S Women's Gymnastics team destroyed the field in the Rio Olympics, winning team's all-around Gold by a margin of 8 points. Simone Biles was the star of the team, also going on to win All-Around Gold in individual competition. Biles run during the Rio Olympics was unprecedented. Everything was perfect for the young Olympian and the women's team. The longtime coach, Martha Karolyi, retired after the Rio Games putting together a group of girls that many are claiming as the greatest gymnast team ever.
Steph Curry game winner against the Thunder
This was probably the best play of the 2015-16 NBA Season. Steph went 12-16 from the three point line and finished with 46 points in the Warriors 121-118 win, but the shot that was heard around the world was nothing short of amazing. I remember vividly watching Steph pull up one-step over the half-court line to silence the raucous OKC crowd. I think I was more surprised to see the Thunder not pick up on him full-court. Steph already let it be known that his range was unlimited, so him making the shot was not that surprising but was every bit of impressive.
Cubs v. Indians World Series
The Cubs and Indians both were looking to end droughts for their blue-collar fans. It had a miracle comeback, Cubs pulling off the 3-1 comeback, and big time plays like Raji Davis home run in the bottom of the 8th in Game 7. It was just a great series that had non-baseball fans interested. The best part is obviously is the Cubs ending their 108-year Championship drought. Whether you were a fan of either team, you enjoyed watching both squads battle it out.
The Birth of the Michael Phelps Face
Michael redefined what it looks like to be in the zone. Phelps admitted that he was not angry at Chad le Clos who was on the opposite end of Phelps piercing stare. His face was just a side effect of listening to hip-hop artist, Future's song "Stick Talk". Phelps would beat out his rival le Clos in the 200m butterfly, where le Clos was caught looking as Phelps passed him.
Kris Jenkins Game Winner
What makes this moment special is that I covered this kid when he was in high school. Jenkins went to Gonzaga College High School in Washington DC and he was shooting like that then. Soon as he caught it in rhythm, I knew it was good. Overall, it was a great game, the best national championship game since Jimmy V and the Cardiac Kids of NC State beat Houston in the 1983 National Championship.
Dee Gordon Tribute Home Run to Jose Fernandez
When the news broke that 24-year old pitcher Jose Fernandez was killed in a boat accident, the MLB did their best to honor the fallen ace of the Miami Marlins, but Dee Gordon honored his former teammate in an ultimate way. In the very next game after Fernandez death, Dee Gordon led off with a home run against the New York Mets had every sports fan with watery eyes. As Gordon circled the bases, you can see the emotion pouring out of him. By time he reached home base and entered the dugout, he could no longer hold back the tears. It was an unbelievable tribute that left every sports fan emotional.
Kobe's Last Game
This was the best moment of 2016 in my opinion. Many people have debated me about this, saying the game didn't matter, he took a lot of shots, and there were better moments. I can't think of another moment this season that I got more excited about than watching Kobe drop 60 points in his final game. After the tumultuous previous two seasons Kobe went through with the injuries and the Lakers lackluster talent, it was the perfect ending to his 20-year career. And for those who bring up his shot attempts, who cares, it's Kobe.