It was quite the year in sports.
One basketball star (Kevin Durant) gave us an endless summer, while another (LeBron James) gave us sadistic joy.
One soccer star (Mario Balotelli) staked his claim as the world’s craziest athlete, while another (Hope Solo) became a minor phenomenon.
And one college football program (Penn State) came crumbling down, while one college conference (the Big East) got an unlikely death sentence.
Before this year, only diehard soccer fans even knew who Hope Solo was. But after her performance in this year's World Cup, Solo became an overnight sensation.
Solo now has a huge fan base across the world, and did a sensational job on the show Dancing With The Stars. A great 2011 for Hope.
LBJ promised 'four... five... six' rings when he arrived in Miami.
But in 2011, he came up a view games short. Even worse, he shrunk in the fourth quarter of the NBA Finals and has been getting killed for not being 'clutch' ever since.
He's taken a much more modest approach going into 2012, we'll see if it pays off.
In both lockouts -- NFL and NBA -- the owners got the better deal in the end.
But at least the players got to play, and we got to watch.
After being a top-5 rebounder last season, he made himself into the most hated player in the NBA after a disastrous reality-show stint this summer.
After divorcing Kim Kardashian just 72 days into their marriage, he's been attacked by the Kardashian tabloid machine and booed everywhere he goes.
Tim Tebow. Love him or hate him, everyone is talking about him.
The people of Denver begged for Tebow to be the starter and when they finally got what they wanted, Tebow lead the team to seven victories and two losses.
And he created a world of Tebowmania.
The Sox suffered one of the worst collapses in MLB history in September.
In the aftermath, the blame was placed square on Josh Beckett, John Lackey, and Jon Lester -- the pitching trio that allegedly drank beer and ate friend chicken in the clubhouse while their team was playing.
The Packers have had an awesome year starting all the way back in February as the Super Bowl champions.
As for the 2011 season, they've so far, only lost one game. Perhaps we'll see them again in Super Bowl 2012.
Tiger's year got off to a promising start. But he faded on Sunday at the Masters, got hurt, and went on to have his worst year as a professional.
He changed his swing -- which will drive any golfer into a rut -- so it remains to be seen if he can make a comeback in 2012.
They found love. And they're both young, and at the top of their games.
We envy you Wozzilory.
Kobe got old overnight in 2011.
His Lakers got massacred by the Mavericks in the playoffs, his team traded one of their core guys (Odom) and was denied a superstar by David Stern (CP3), and then his wife divorced him after his alleged affairs became too much to handle.
We all know this dude is nuts, but love him or hate him, he's definitely entertaining.
Who else can manage to almost burn down his house with fireworks, and then become a spokesman for fireworks safety all in one day. Balotelli, that's who.
Stern mishandled the lockout -- bringing the league to the edge of disaster and sacrificing 16 regular season games.
But the bigger injustice was his handling of the Chris Paul trade. Stern first stepped in to keep the Lakers from getting CP3, but then allowed the Clippers to acquire him a few days later.
The Lingerie Football League has been established for a few years now, but all of a sudden in 2011, we're hearing about it way more.
The LFL is definitely gaining popularity, and we'll be interested to see where in goes in 2012.
Boeheim sat firmly in the cannon of all-time great college basketball coaches.
But he hurt his legacy bigtime this year with his bungled response to the Bernie Fine child molestation accusations.
First, he wrote off the alleged victims as money-seeking frauds. Then he declared that he has no reason to worry about his job.
Melissa Kellerman is that Cowboys cheerleader who got KNOCKED over by Jason Witten (probably on purpose) and hopped right back up and laughed it off.
We love you Melissa.
One of the more shocking falls from grace in sports history (and probably regular history too).
Paterno was a legend in State College -- a man that turned a small farming college into a world-class university with the football program he built.
And it all came crumbling down.
During Fredette's senior season at BYU, he was the leading scorer in all of the NCAA. Fredette also racked up every major player of the year award his senior year and was the tenth round pick overall in the NBA draft.
Now Fredette is starting his career in the pros as a Sacramento King.
The nastiest, dirtiest player in the NFL notched enough suspensions and penalties to sink a ship.
His awful antics culminated in an ugly Thanksgiving Day incident where he stomped on a Packers' player's chest.
Not too smart.
Besides being completely ridiculous, and pretty awesome, Cuban's Mavs were the Champions of the NBA in 2011.
And Cuban played a great role in the NBA lockout. Cuban was one of the lone owners who seemed to want to go above and beyond to get the deal done and the season started.
This one kind of snuck under the radar.
But Tressel was one of the biggest coaches in college football at this time last year. And now he's out of a college job and stuck looking at replays for the Colts.
Kevin Durant was the king of the NBA lockout pick up games. He absolutely DOMINATED in all of them.
He also drove to the middle of nowhere to play flag football with a bunch of frat bros, pretty cool.
Great job, the Phillies.
You get everyone all hyped up by assembling the best pitching staff in the history of everything, and then you crap out in the first round against the Cardinals.
LaRussa's Cardinals won the World Series, and then he retired.
Way to go out on top buddy.
The NHL has been steadily getting more and more popular since the lockout in 2005.
But it took a small step back this year -- the three biggest stories were (1) Player deaths, (2) Sidney Crosby's concussion, and (3) riots.
Nowitzki lead his Mavs to the NBA finals, and won MVP of the finals along the way.
In the process, he exercised the demons of his former playoff woes.
It went down in flames after the college sports world went all crazy for a few weeks.
So long, the most watchable basketball conference ever.
Pujols recently signed with the Angels for 10 years, and $250 million.
Not bad for a guy who's already 32 (ish) years old.
He went down with an injury right before the season.
But even worse, the Colts might be so bad that they draft Andrew Luck, and he is out of a job.
The awesome human being formerly known as Ron Artest had a banner year.
Yeah, his stats went down. But he was on DWTS, and he successfully changed his name to something crazy and somehow made himself more likeable in the process.
Vick was supposed to have an all-time year and lead the Dream Team to their first Super Bowl.
Instead he got hurt, and didn't even play that well when he was healthy.
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