Daniel: The reaction the world had to the death of Muhammad Ali in July. While athletes are celebrated for on and off the field actions, calling Ali an athlete would be only a chapter in his life. A cultural icon, a standard that any person of color could look to, and symbol for pride and civil rights, and a human who refuse to compromise his morals or beliefs to people who once try to destroy him or let a crippling illness turn him into a victim. The universal love expressed for a man once seen as a villain was a shining light for a very torn year.
Chelsea: The Chicago Cubs winning the World Series in November. They had not won a World Series for 108 years, so being able to watch them finally succeed was certainly special. Through all the scrutiny and doubt, they completed it all, which I find particularly inspirational. I have been a Cubs fan my entire life, along with my dad, so being able to celebrate the victory with my dad and being able to wear our World Series t-shirts together is awesome.
Ian: The Panthers going all the way to the Superbowl. It was there second time ever going to the Superbowl, and even though they didn’t win it was amazing for me – a long time Panthers fan – to watch them give it their all.
Isaiah: TheNew York Giants’ defense evolving into the championship defense. Throughout the 2016 NFL season it was all about Odell Beckham Jr. and his phenomenal first two seasons as a young player in his prime. What people forgot was that it was the defense of the Giants who brought them Super Bowl rings in Superbowl 42 and 46. Although the Giants lost in the playoffs and their offense wasn’t quite as potent as it was throughout those two runs, I am excited to see the Giants build upon their exceptional performance in 2016 defensively and carry it into the 2017 season.
Jaives: Kobe’s retirement. It was an end of an era, a person who I’ve watched ever since I could remember was now hanging it up. All 90’s babies ever knew was Kobe being on the Lakers, and that was what made his retirement after twenty years so shocking: millennials losing a constant in their lives. Whether it was the up and down “Farewell Tour” or the time he was able to turn back the clock one final time for a masterful 60 point game in his final NBA contest, 2016 was a year to remember Kobe “Bean” Bryant.
Garrison: The Cavaliers coming back from 3-1 against the Warriors in the NBA Finals. In my opinion this was one of the most exciting sporting events to watch all year. With everything going against LeBron and the Cavs he still finds a way to fight his way to a game 7 and wins the championship on the Warriors home court. The way Kyrie showed that he is to be considered one of the top scoring point guards in the league, after hitting the fadeaway three to finish the Warriors stellar 73-9 record breaking season. The series as a whole was just phenomenal and I am super excited if they end up going head to head again in the finals.
Bryan: The NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Game. The game was unbelievably competitive, and the last two minutes of the game had everyone’s heart racing. Admittedly, it was a heartbreaking loss to swallow as a UNC fan to lose on the biggest stage on a buzzer-beating three pointer, but Kris Jenkins stepped up and made the shot that every aspiring basketball player dreams of making when shooting hoops in the backyard. That shot will be replayed for years, and regardless of my feelings about the game’s outcome, it was great to be able to witness a legendary moment like that.
Drew: The Cubs winning the World Series. I’m actually a Royals fan but my dad and brother are both pretty huge Cubs fans (my dad is from Chicago). There was no fan base in sports that deserved a championship more, and it was great just seeing the reaction from Chicagoans who have been anticipating that moment for so long. Although, the Cubs winning the World Series is undoubtedly a sign of the apocalypse, so I do expect the entire planet to be taken out by an asteroid soon. Other than that, I really enjoyed seeing them win.