Sports Illustrated is set to announce its annual “Sportsman of the Year” award on Monday December 5th, and there doesn’t seem to be an overwhelming favorite right now. Or perhaps there is.
You can peruse the nominations in a photo gallery here: plus a number of SI writers have opined on why their nomination should be picked over the past couple of weeks. However, perusing the photo gallery very quickly highlights the paucity of real candidates. Frankly, most of the candidates I’ve never even heard of, especially from the “extreme” and olympic sports genres. And I’d like to think I’m pretty well versed in sports coverage.
For me, your leading candidates are: Aaron Rodgers, David Freese, Dirk Novitzki, Novak Djokovic, VCU, and Rory McIlroy.
- Rodgers is, as I read elsewhere but can’t currently find so I can’t properly quote it, “the most important player on the best team in the most important sport.” Enough said.
- Freese’s magical night helped game 6 of the World Series become, instantly, one of the best games ever played in the game.
- Djokovic went 10-1 this year against the two players (Federer and Nadal) that most tennis pundits label the two best players to ever play the game.
- Novitzki finally capped a hall of fame season with a well-deserved NBA title, vanquishing the hated Heat.
- All VCU did was blow through a series of teams easily favored over them and make the final four.
- McIlroy’s US Open accomplishments here in DC were otherworldly, but he didn’t end the season ranked #1.
Honestly, the most dominating player in his sport this year was Djokovic, hands down. But the fall of tennis’ popularity in the USA over the past 10 years probably precludes him from really being picked. If SI wanted to make a statement they’d pick VCU as a symbol of the rising tide of Mid-Major basketball schools … except that the major colleges will never really be threatened thanks to the self-fulfilling prophesy that is the NCAA industry in the modern era. And, what VCU accomplished isn’t nearly as important as what George Mason did just a few years ago. Freese had one night; is that worthy of an annual award?
So, get ready for Rodgers to garner the award.