LAist End of the Year Sports Awards
LAist wasn't here for all 2004, but the memories were. Here are the first annual LAist Sports Awards.Sportsman of the Year: Derek Fisher
He may no longer be a Laker, but Derek Fisher's shot with 0.4 seconds left against San Antonio was the best thing to happen to LA sports fans all year. With every Laker annoying the hell out of the city of LA, from Shaq to Kobe to Malone to the Glove to Phil to Jerry Buss to Jeannie Buss, it was always nice to know that D-Fish was around. Sure, he couldn't defend to save his life. And he probably did take too many threes. But Derek Fisher was a consummate professional who was finally rewarded for years of hard work and humility.
Team of the Year: UCLA Water Polo
While you could make a good case for USC football, Cal State Fullerton baseball, or even UCSB soccer, LAist is going to the pool for this one. Few games were as exciting this season as UCLA's overtime victory over Stanford to win the national championship. It culminated in Joseph Axelrad making one big save after another off Olympian Tony Azevedo to seal victory for the Bruins. UCLA wasn't as talented, but played team ball to claim the prize.
Loser of the Year: Kobe, Shaq (tie)
Blame whoever you want, but Shaq and Kobe's utter refusal to tolerate one another and share the limelight led to the downfall of a dynasty. If there was ever a "choice" between the two, it was only because both forced the issue. They left some great memories, but they also caused massive headaches with their childish antics.
Aquisition of the Year: Vladimir Guerrero
He did exactly what he was supposed to do in Angel red... played like the best player in the American League and took the Angels to the playoffs. Best signing the Angels ever made.
Trade aquisition of the Year: Steve Finley
Who can forget Steve Finley's miracle grand slam to beat the Giants and win the division? LAist certainly won't.
Biggest Money Loser of the Year: Frank McCourt
For a man worth less than $400 million, we're still trying to figure out he can afford spend $430 million on a baseball team, $25 million on a house in Holmby Hills, $6.5 million on another house in Holmby Hills, and then refuse to ante up $4 million for Jose Lima in arbitration.
Coach of the Year: Pete Carroll
Gets the nod over Jim Tracy. Very few teams have gone undefeated when coming into the season No. 1. It's hard to keep winning when you have every team saving their best for you. But USC maintained their focus the whole year, and now are playing for Oranges.
Singer of the Year: Jose Lima
Not only did he single-handedly give the Dodgers their first playoff win in 16 years, but he also let loose the vocals with a stirring rendition of the national anthem.