Stephen Curry, NBA- The 2015 AP Male Athlete of the Year is currently the most polarizing player in the NBA. His popularity has soared to new heights and kids all over the country want to be like Curry. This year Curry is continuing to make his case for best player in the world and will try to break the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls 72-10 record on route to a 2nd NBA title. A second straight MVP is looking likely as well.
Kobe Bryant, NBA- When Kobe announced that this season would be his last, the NBA atmosphere exploded and started an appreciation tour for the long time Laker. Expect the NBA to do some special things for Kobe as his final days approach. Also, will Kobe decide to play for the 2016 Olympic team as a farewell to the world?
Kevin Durant, NBA- The former MVP is playing to win a title this season, but that is not his biggest storyline of the year. Durant will be a free agent for the first time this summer and teams are expected to make a push for him. Whether he stays in OKC, goes home to DC, leaves for the Lakers or forms a dynasty with the Warriors, Durant can reshape the NBA wherever he decides to go.
Jordan Speith, PGA- Speith is coming off a historic 2015 season. He won the Masters and broke tournament records along the way. He ran away with the US Open Championship and nearly won a 3rd major at the British Open at St. Andrews. Can Speith be even more dominant in 2016?
Kris Bryant, MLB- The 2015 NL Rookie of the Year fulfilled the high expectations given to him in his rookie season. He will be a key contributor to the Cubs, a team that is built to win a long overdue World Series. Can Bryant build off his rookie success and play well consistently, or will he hit a sophomore slump?
Bryce Harper, MLB- The sky seems to be the limit for Bryce Harper. Harper finally lived up to his superstar potential by winning the NL MVP award in 2015. Harper will need to continue that success to lead the Nationals back to the playoffs. It should be interesting to see if he matures as well.
Michael Phelps, Swimming- The Olympic legend plans to compete in Rio for one final Olympic run. He already is one of the greatest and most decorated Olympic athlete of all time, and he will have a chance to add to his resume in 2016.
Todd Gurley, NFL- The rookie running back took the league by storm with his explosive running abilities. Gurley is considered the favorite to win the offensive rookie of the year. By the time the 2016 NFL season arrives, he should be fully healthy with a year of experience. Expect him to have a big sophomore season.
Peyton Manning, NFL- Manning is one of the all time greats, but he is at the end of his career. Injuries and age caught up to him this season, resulting in low production. What will the Broncos decide to do with him at the end of the season? A lot of that decision process depends on his playoff play and how the team does. Retirement, a new team, or staying in Denver are all future possibilities for Peyton once the season ends.
Ben Simmons, NCAAB- There is a ton of hype surrounding the freshman hoop phenom at LSU. Simmons is posting enormous stats and is considered to be a lock for number 1 pick in this years NBA draft. Magic Johnson stated that he is the best prospect since LeBron James. What team will draft him, and will he live up to the hype and expectations in the NBA?
Christian McCaffrey, NCAAF- The Stanford running back broke the single season all-purpose yards record his sophomore season and came in second for Heisman voting. As of now he is considered the favorite to win the Heisman next season. Will he break his own records and possibly lead the Cardinals to the College Football Playoffs?
By: Nick Cillo