It’s been quite a unique year in sports in 2016, with not one but two long championship droughts snapped in a matter of six months. First, LeBron James put on one of the most historic runs in the NBA Finals and led the Cleveland Cavaliers to the city’s first title in a major sport since 1964. Cool, but that wasn’t even the best sports story of the year.
Enter the Cubs.
Ha, 52 years? Try 108 years of tragic disappointment. Yet, none of the past mattered in 2016, because the Chicago Cubs dominated the opposition for six months and then it took a few more days in November to finally win a World Series. That was voted as the top sports story of 2016 and now a Cubs superstar has landed near the top of another impressive list.
The AP released their annual Male Athlete Of The Year rankings and Kris Bryant finished in the top-five. LeBron James was voted No. 1, followed by Olympians Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt. Bryant tied with Steph Curry.
- LeBron James – 24 Points
- Michael Phelps – 16 Points
- Usain Bolt – 9 Points
- Kris Bryant – 3 Points
- Steph Curry – 3 Points
- Christiano Ronaldo – 1 Point
- Von Miller – 1 Point
- Andy Murray – 1 Point
- Matt Centrowitz – 1 Point
At 24-years-old and only two years in the Majors, Bryant is already becoming an important sports figure nationally. Of course, being on the team that broke the 108-year drought for the Cubs also helps out. But being an absolute stud at baseball doesn’t hurt either.
Bryant followed up his Rookie Of The Year season with his second straight All-Star appearance, a World Series ring and capped it off with an MVP Award. Not bad. Now, he’s getting votes for Male Athlete Of The Year? Not too shabby.
And really, you can’t argue against the top-three. Yes, basketball is a team sport, but there are only five players on the court at a time and again James was a freak in the finals. The next two have records that will most likely never be broken or at least will stand for a very long time. That’s what makes Bryant’s spot at No. 4 even more impressive. He was picked from a team of 25 as one of the best of the year, compared to the other three that have all or most of the spotlight on them all the time.
A nice little honor for Kris Bryant. And who knows maybe one day he could win the honor. The last MLB player to be voted Male Athlete Of The Year by the AP was Madison Bumgarner in 2014.