It’s raining sports awards. The St. Louis Blues are brawlin’. Alexander Ovechkin is unstoppable. Who do you think is the GOAT? Canadian basketball girls are getting a helping hand. This high schooler is inspiring AF. The Toronto Blue Jays parted ways with an old fan fave. And, see what’s in store for this weekend.
'Tis the Season of Sports Giving
The GIST: It’s the time of year where sports publications recognize the best of the best from 2018. Think of these awards like your Spotify Wrapped Playlist but with less Beyonce (which is a shame, really).
King of the Hill: First up is the Lou Marsh Trophy. This award, decided by a group of sports-media folks from across the country, is given annually to Canada’s top athlete. This year’s winner is moguls (that’s the one with the bumps) ski sensation Mikael Kingsbury. Kingsbury won Olympic gold at the Pyeongchang Olympics AND broke the all-time record for World Cup wins this year. He’s also the first freestyle skier to ever win the award. Yeahhhhh boy!
The Fine Print: To some, Kingsbury seems like a random AF choice, especially considering Canada’s biggest obsession stars at the Olympics were gold medal figure skaters, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. But they became ineligible when it was decidedthe award would go only to individual athletes this year. Sigh.
In Other News: The Golden State Warriors, the 2018 NBA champs, won Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year award for sportsmanship and achievement. We know what you’re thinking; “Wait, what?! How can this award go to a team?” Well, it’s only the third time in history that it’s happened.
More Domination: ESPN The Magazine wanted to get in on the giving action as well, creating a list of the 20 most dominant athletes for 2018. And U.S. gymnastics superstar Simone Biles topped the list. Biles is one of the strongest women we know. She is a survivor of the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal and bravely told her story to help put Nassar behind bars.
Throughout all of this, she still managed to be the best in the world. Biles put up historic numbers at the world championships this year, becoming the first American gymnast to medal in every single event. Oh, and did we mention she did all that with a kidney stone? Girl, we’ve called in sick with a throat tickle before...
The Good, The Bad, and The Russian
The GIST: While the freezing Canadian winter can be hella depressing, one of the upsides is that with winter, comes hockey.
Blue Christmas: Tensions bubbled over for the St. Louis Blues this week, as two players from the NHL basement team (as in, the Blues are sittin’ real low in the standings) dropped the gloves at practice. This wasn’t just a one-and-done fight— Robert Bortuzzo and Zach Sanford unloaded on each other before coaches separated the pair. So much for the holidays being a joyful time of year.
Lightning It Up: At the other end of the NHL spectrum are the Tampa Bay Lightning, led by Canadian boy Steven Stamkos. You gotta see Stamkos notch his 700th career point with this beauty of a goal while he’s literally falling down. The Lightning are on a seven-game win streak and are sitting comfortably atop the NHL standings, six points ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Oh My Ovi: Alexander Ovechkin has still got it. Fresh off a wild Stanley Cup tourcomplete with keg stands and post-party Stanley Cup snuggles, Ovi leads the league in goals including scoring his 21st hat-trick (that’s three goals in one game) on Tuesday. Most NHLers go their entire careers without scoring a hat-trick. Ovi has scored TWENTY-FREAKING-ONE. Similar to the Russians meddling in U.S. elections, there’s no stopping this Russian goal-scoring machine.
Who's The GOAT?
The GIST: Another NBA season is well underway and with it, of course, comes another debate about who the GOAT baller is. Is it the original wearer of the #23, Michael Jordan? Or is it LeBron (aka King) James?
You Have GOAT To Be Kidding Me: It seems like everyone and their mom has an opinion about MJ vs. LeBron. And, TBH, we were tired of getting left outta the action. So we decided to write a deep dive on the topic. But unlike the other pieces where the writer serves their thoughts on who they think is best, we’re spitting straight facts about each player so that YOU can decide who’s the best for yourself. No mansplaining here. So take a couple of minutes out of your day (who wants to do work anyway?) to read our deep dive on MJ vs. LeBron here.
GIST Some Other Sh!t You Should Know
- Often the first step to a professional basketball career is playing for a top U.S. college team; however, scouts rarely make their way north of the border to see Canadian talent—especially for female players. WNBA star Kia Nurse is doing her part to level the playing field by creating the Kia Nurse Elite, a team (backed by Nike!) made up of Canadian players that will be part of an elite U.S. basketball circuit. This team will give players the exposure they need to make it to the big leagues. Who run the world?
- It’s not Friday yet, but we have a feel-good story to share. Last week, Kalin Bennett became the first high school athlete with autism to earn a basketball scholarship with a Division 1 team (that’s the highest level of college sports in the U.S.). Kalin was diagnosed at a young age, didn’t walk until he was four, and didn’t speak until he was seven. But, he fell in love with basketball at age 10 and hasn’t looked back since. Make moves Kalin, we support you!
- The Toronto Blue Jays turned heads on Tuesday, releasing veteran shortstop, and once upon a time fan favourite, Troy Tulowitzki (Jays fans were known for their rowdy TU-LO chants). Tulo was traded to Toronto in 2015 and was a star, but since then has been in steady decline, mainly because of injuries. So the Jays felt enough was enough and said “Bye Felicia”. But, and this is a BIG BUT, the Jays still have to pay Tulo the $38M left on his contract. This would be like paying for a five-course meal but only getting to eat the appetizer. Anyone else feeling hangry?
- For the first time since 2004, the Toronto Raptors FINALLY beat the seemingly unstoppable Golden State Warriors in the Golden State – ‘bout time! This win is also a BFD because Raps star player, Kawhi Leonard, didn’t play as he’s currently sidelined with a hip injury (okay old man). Oh... and you might have heard that Warriors superstar Steph Curry didn't believe that the U.S. landed on the moon, but don't worry, apparently it was all a big joke.
What’s Up This Week
Thursday: After you get your football pool picks in by 7:30 p.m. ET (pssttt click here to play and to get #thegist of each game) you can watch two of the best teams in the NFL, the Kansas City Chiefs and the L.A. Chargers, square off in what is sure to be a wild Thursday Night Football (#TNF) showdown. These teams last met in the first game of the season, with Kansas City coming out on top. But there’s more on the line this time as the game has huge playoff implications for both teams. Game time is at 8:20 p.m. ET.
Friday: No Friday night plans? Why not stay in and watch the Toronto Raptors take on the Portland Trail Blazers. Game time is 10 p.m. ET.
Shout-Out: Holla at some of our GISTer sisters Nancy Li, Emily Smolej, Clare Webb, Victoria Heath, Camille Chandra and Courtney Ross for winning the seventh day of GISTMAS! WE LY, thanks for spreading the gift of The GIST this holiday season. <3