By Matthew Johnson, Sports Editor
Published in print Aug. 27, 2014
In my attempt to unsuccessfully beat the sweltering summer heat North Carolina releases in summer, I did as most people living below the Mason-Dixon Line, I tried to stay inside an air conditioned room as much as possible. Binge watching television shows such as Avatar the Last Airbender, my eyes were also glued to the world of sports this summer. In the dog days of the year, the sporting world provided more than enough entertainment to, with the blazing humidity, take my breath away.
Lebron James is the most powerful athlete in America
Shutting down nearly every major news source with his decision to return to Cleveland after a four-year hiatus in South Beach this June, Lebron James proved this summer he is not simply the best basketball player in the nation, but is the most influential athlete in America since mid 2000s Tiger Woods.
Playing 97 games this past season, James was the unquestioned best player on the court for eight months, even though his Miami Heat team suffered a disappointing defeat to the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals. With his choice to return to Cleveland, James provided the biggest sports story of the summer by announcing his free agent destination. Returning to his hometown state, James did not simply leave Miami to not just win, but to once again play for the city which is within walking distance from his Akron birthplace.
World Cup proves soccer is here to stay
Though it may never reach the seemingly insurmountable heights of American “football,” the World’s Grandest Game appears to have finally found its following in the United States.
With a World Cup that saw record television ratings this summer, the World Cup triumphed in views over such American fixtures as the NBA Finals, the World Series and the Masters, telling us as a nation it is clear that soccer has finally found its niche in America. With the interest in the World Cup this past June and July, “futbol,” seems to have finally come to America in an overwhelming wave of enthusiasm and excitement.
Season of uncertainty looms for Panthers
Proving doubters (including myself) incorrect with a surprising 12-4 record and a playoff berth a season ago, the Panthers seemed to have finally turn the corner on average to mediocre seasons as the nucleus of the Panthers includes young stars at quarterback, linebacker and the defensive line. However, with concerns along an inexperienced offensive line, the lost of every wide receiver on the roster a year ago and a reshuffled secondary, it looks likely the Panthers may unfortunately take a step back from last season’s success.
Charlotte Hornets will provide hope
Fielding some of the most ridiculed basketball teams in recent memory, the final season of the Charlotte Bobcats glimmered a slice of hope in the team’s last year. A playoff berth and having forward Al Jefferson make the All NBA Third Team, the Hornets future looks tremendously bright where owner Michael Jordan will have the luxury of competing in a weak conference as well as a backcourt which includes triple double threat Lance Stevenson and clutch performer Kemba Walker.
Tiger Woods roar has gone mute
Six years ago, what looked as concrete as Alex Rodriguez being the glorious hero who would restore baseball’s home run record from performing enhancing drugs, Tiger Woods in 2008 looked to be on pace to not just break, but shatter Jack Nicklaus’s majors record of 18 victories.
However, after scandal, comeback and injury, the sporting world walks in disappointment and thinks in thoughts of what might-have-been as it looks as if the once proud golden boy of golf has rusted into bronze due to bodily injury. No longer should we wonder if Tiger is “back” to his once historic golfing performance, but if his knees and back could muster enough strength to have Eldrick Woods break through for five more major tournament wins.