Top 10 National Sports Stories for 2017
There were several top sports stories that received national attention this year. The stories weren’t relegated to one or two particular sports, however as national headlines were prominent in college basketball, NBA, NFL, track and field and others.
1. Colin Kaepernick
Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick continued to gain national publicity for his protest on social issues. His efforts generated a lot of response throughout the league and other sports in regards to protesting during the national anthem.
Although Kaepernick played some good football with the San Francisco 49ers, he was not signed by any team in the NFL this season.
For its December issue, GQ magazine selected him as Citizen of the Year. He also won Sports Illustrated’s Muhammad Ali Legacy Award.
2. LaVar Ball
LaVar Ball, the outspoken father of three sons — Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball, who all play basketball — was constantly in the national spotlight for all his brash comments. His oldest son, Lonzo, is a rookie point guard with the Los Angeles Lakers.
3. Floyd Mayweather Goes 50-0
In a much talked about fight, Floyd Mayweather defeated Conor McGregor in 10 rounds by a technical knockout. McGregor is not a boxer. He is the 155-pound Ultimate Fighting Championship titleholder and one of the world’s top mixed martial artists.
With the victory, Mayweather has an amazing 50-0 career record and 27 knockouts. The win allowed him to surpass boxing great Rocky Marciano.
4. Pro Championships
After losing the NBA title in an exciting seventh game to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016, the Golden State Warriors bounced back to beat the Cavaliers for the league championship in 2017. The Warriors were able to beat the Cavs, thanks to the free agent signing of forward Kevin Durant who came over to Golden State from the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Earlier in the year, the New England Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons to win Super Bowl 51 in comeback fashion. Pro Bowl quarterback Tom Brady led his team to victory after trailing by 25 points.
Finally, the Houston Astros beat the Los Angeles Dodgers to win the World Series. This was the Astros’ first World Series title. Houston topped Los Angeles, 5-1, in the seventh game at Dodger Stadium.
5. NCAA Basketball Champion
In 2016, North Carolina lost to Villanova on a last second shot by Kris Jenkins. The Tar Heels were on a mission to get back to the NCAA Finals. North Carolina was able to accomplish this task by nipping Gonzaga 71-65 to win the national championship.
6. NCAA Football Champion
Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson led the Tigers to an upset over the Alabama Crimson Tide to win the national championship. Watson later became a first-round draft pick of the Houston Texans in the 2017 NFL Draft.
7. Dawn Staley
Former Dobbins Tech basketball star and North Philadelphia native Dawn Staley led the University of South Carolina to the women’s NCAA basketball title. Staley, the Gamecocks’ head coach, won the national crown in front of several former Temple players and friends from Philly.
8. Usain Bolt
Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, who had an outstanding track and field career, announced his retirement. Bolt holds records in the 100- and 200-meter dash. He’s also an eight-time Olympic gold medalist, but he lost the final race of his career in the 100 meters to USA sprinter Justin Gatlin at the 2017 World Championships.
9. NFL Draft
The NFL Draft will take place in Dallas from April 26 to 28 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Last year, Philadelphia hosted the NFL Draft.
10. Olympics Adds 3-on-3 Hoops
In 2020, 3-on-3 basketball will be included during the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The sport will be added for both men and women.