2011 was a year of drama in the sports world. Whether it was in the World Series when David Freese walked-off in Game 6 to carry the Cardinals momentum into a victorious Game 7 or Dirk Nowitzki's lefty layup with 3.8 seconds to beat the Heat in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, this year was exciting. As we ring in the New Year, a year sure to please our appetites for heroic sports performances, I decided to present you with this compiliation of icons in the sports world who will dominate the year.
5. Kevin Durant
The 23-year-old scoring machine has already become a superstar in the NBA, but I expect even more. My MVP prediction has already kicked off the NBA season with some last second heroics. In a conference that does not have one dominant favorite, Durant and Co. are capable of taking the West by storm come playoff time. Durant's contract extension to make Oklahoma City his home through the 2015-2016 season. The fan base embraces KD35, his shoe line with NIKE is successful (while being some interesting kicks), and Durant will be the real King of 2012.
4. Tiger Woods
Tiger's new coach, Sean Foley, is working hard to adjust Woods' swing to please him and to bring him back to vintage, pre-scandal Tiger. Maybe I'm thinking too positive, but I believe in the man with the most talent of any golfer we will see in the 21st century. As another NIKE guy, a successful year for Woods means more red on Sundays, NIKE's stock jumps, and the TV networks strive when Tiger is in the hunt. Expect some exciting weekend's on the green with Tiger Woods come Spring of 2012.
3. Henrik Lundqvist
WHAT?! Yes, you know what this means. The unorthodox blue shirt goalie has been on fire this season as the Rangers are currently second in points totals in the entire National Hockey League. I'm usually not one to make bold predictions, but the way the Rangers are playing and the electricity at MSG when this team is playing well I think the Lundqvist could be the goalie that brings the Stanley Cup back to the Big Apple for the first time since 1994.
2. Albert Pujols
Number 5 just signed a monster deal, worth $254M, with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and 2012 is going to be a fun year at Disneyland for the Pujols family. I'm not saying Pujols will win championships like the previous three on this list, but I wouldn't be surprised if Pujols brought some new hardware into his home presented by the Baseball Writers Association of America. The ability to take a load off and play DH in Anaheim will be a huge benefit for "The Machine" in 2012 considering Prince Albert has never played a full season in his Hall of Fame career. Mo Money Mo Problems? The opposite for Albert this coming year.
The similarity between Pujols and Brees is green, and it's not grass. Brees is set to cash in 2012 as his contract expires, could win the Most Valuable Player award if he beats out Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and...WIN HIS SECOND SUPER BOWL RING. It isn't like 2011 was an AWFUL year for Brees and the rest of the members of this tandem, but I see Brees reaching extraordinary heights in the year the Mayan calender ends.
Would like to take this moment to thank all of you reading this and who have read all of my work throughout the year (including my tweets). Kick off the New Year by following me on Twitter @Brad_Wolff and liking me on FaceBook by clicking here. Wishing all of you a happy and healthy New Year. I will leave you with this question:
Which athlete do YOU believe will succeed in 2012?
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