Best Athlete/Celebrity Photos of 2012
Social media is great for a lot of things. But one of the best things it's good for is the visuals.
Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, WhoSay—all of these networks offer us an exciting and unparalleled glimpse into the lives of athletes and celebrities that we idolize. And sometimes, when the stars align, some of those athletes and celebrities join forces to tweet photos of themselves together.
Without social media networks, when would we get an opportunity to see Sophia Vergara's effusive joy over watching Eli Manning stretch? Or when would we get to see Baltimore's two most ferocious athletes just chilling on the grass together, contemplating life? Or when would we get to see the president of the United States imitating the most viral Internet meme of 2012?
Without further ado, here are some of the best, most random celebrity/athlete photos of the year.
K-Cav's and Jay Cutler's New Baby
We begin with one of the newest additions to the celebrity baby family: Camden Cutler.
Doesn't that just sound like the name of a future NFL quarterback?
OK, maybe not. But one thing is for sure: Camden is the smallest Jay Cutler doppelganger on the planet.
Kristin Cavallari of The Hills and Laguna Beach fame gave birth to the little guy in August, just in time to see dad attempt to lead the Chicago Bears to the playoffs. Unfortunately, that may not be in the cards for 2012, but hey—maybe it'll happen some time before Camden gets his driver's license.
Cavallari tweeted this photo of Camden before game day in October.
Chris Bosh and His Little Friends
A brand new championship ring can't keep you company during the holidays, but a few furry friends can.
Miami Heat star Chris Bosh got into the holiday spirit this year with a plethora of tiny white dogs that look as though they'd be better suited for Kim Kardashian's brigade, but whatever. You can't fault a guy for his taste in dogs, and though they may not be fierce, they're pretty cute.
Bosh posed with his doggies in front of the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve (image via WhoSay). Though the dogs themselves may look a little bit terrified, Bosh looks pretty content to be with them.
The Newest Addition to the Brady/Bundchen Clan
Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen got the perfect Christmas present when they added another baby to their brood in early December.
Vivian is Brady's first daughter, joining Benjamin, his son with Bundchen, and John, his son with actress Bridget Moynahan. Bundchen posted this photo on her Facebook page days after the baby was born, writing, "We feel so lucky to experience the miracle of birth once again." The first photo doesn't tell you much, but keep your eyes on Us Weekly—they'll turn up.
And if little Viv looks anything like her mom when she grows up, Brady might have to work on those blocking skills so he can aptly fight off her millions of wannabe suitors.
Victor Cruz's Tribute to Sandy Hook Victims
On a more somber note, this was one of the most touching gestures in the NFL in 2012.
Days after the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., that claimed the lives of 26 teachers and students, the names of the victims were revealed—and one of them was Jack Pinto, a huge fan of the New York Giants, and specifically, wide receiver Victor Cruz.
That Sunday, as New York geared up to take the field just two days after the shooting, Cruz inscribed a special message on his cleats to pay tribute to his young fan.
Robert Griffin III, Jay Leno and the U.S. Water Polo Team
In the year 2012, Robert Griffin III officially crossed over into bona fide celebrity territory.
The former Baylor quarterback was a star in 2011, but not like this. As he geared up for the 2012 draft, he became one of the most recognizable emerging faces in the league. As his rookie season draws to a close, he is certainly one of the most popular new players in the NFL—as evidenced by the fact that his jersey is the top-selling one of the year.
But long before he ever took the field in his first official professional game, he got a nice taste of the celebrity lifestyle when he appeared on Jay Leno's show—accompanied by the entire U.S. women's water polo team.
And to top it all off, the team made him an honorary member. It's not every day that an NFL QB becomes part of an all-female water polo club.
LeBron & Co. Celebrate His Championship
Maybe LeBron James' family thought they'd be celebrating a championship victory a lot sooner than this, but alas, it finally came in 2012: James and the Miami Heat bested the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Finals, and James finally got that ring that had seemingly eluded him for so long.
Obviously, LeBron's first championship was one of the biggest stories of the year—but this photo of him, partner Savannah Brinson and his two kids (via Instagram) is one of the best photos of the year, too. Apparently, Little LeBron was none too impressed with the championship victory, judging by that look on his face.
There's something to be said for perfect family portraits in the wake of defining career accomplishments, but there's also something to be said for hilariously adorable mini-LeBrons.
Rory McIlroy, Caroline Wozniacki Are on Top of the World
For a long time, Rory McIlroy and Caroline Wozniacki got a lot of flack for dating each other, considering McIlroy's career seem to nosedive in perfect conjunction with the birth of the relationship.
Well, count that curse as busted.
In 2012, McIlroy finally got his doubters off his back when he won the PGA Championship, his first victory in a major since he took the U.S. Open in 2011. In between those two victories were many low lows, and haters claimed they were a result of the distractions in his personal life.
This year, McIlroy proved that there were no distractions at all and his poorly-timed slump was merely a coincidence. This photo (via Rory McIlroy on WhoSay), taken "on top of the world" in Aspen, Colo., is one of the many the happy couple enjoy tweeting/Instagramming/Facebooking at all hours of every day.
Eminem, Prince Fielder Have a Heart-to-Heart
Now here is something you don't see every day.
Some of us didn't know Eminem was still a thing. Others didn't know he and Tigers superstar Prince Fielder could possibly have anything to talk about, ever. Many of us would have paid a lot of money to be a fly on the wall for this conversation because there's no way it wasn't the most awkward conversation in the history of celebrity-athlete relations.
Detroit native (and, apparently, baseball fan?) Eminem met up with Fielder prior to the 2012 World Series for a heart-to-heart (image via WhoSay). Hopefully he wasn't too crushed when the Tigers were embarrassed at the hands of the eventual-champion Giants.
Sophia Vergara at the Giants Game
There are many things we know about Sophia Vergara. We know she's always nominated for Emmys based on her illustrious work on Modern Family. We know she's also in really entertaining Pepsi commercials.
Now, we know she is a fan of the New York Giants. And we know that Eli Manning is not impressed.
Earlier this year, Vergara attended a Giants game and snapped this photo of herself (image via WhoSay) standing on the field while the Giants stretched and warmed up. If you look really closely, you'll see Mr. Manning directly over her shoulder, completely oblivious.
While Sophia may have been disappointed that she couldn't catch the QB's attention, at least the fans can take solace in the fact that Manning always has his game face on—even when Sophia Vergara is standing 20 yards away.
King James and Johnny Football
It's kind of comforting to know that even when you're one of the biggest—if not the biggest—superstar athletes on the planet, you can still get starstruck by another one.
Reigning NBA champion LeBron James had the opportunity to meet reigning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel late this year, and it's hard to tell who was more thrilled by the photo op (image via Instagram): Manziel, LeBron or the photo-bombers in the right corner.
There was some serious superstar pedigree in the room when this photo was taken. The best player in college football, the best player in the NBA—how did the room keep from exploding?
Barack Obama Is Not Impressed
Just because you spend your days campaigning for re-election and simultaneously trying to devise ways in which the United States of America can avoid falling into the fiscal pit of fire doesn't mean you don't have time for some fun and games.
Nor does it mean you don't have time to follow the most popular Internet memes of the year.
When U.S. Olympic gymnast and heavy favorite McKayla Maroney fell on her second vault in London this summer and therefore failed to garner a gold medal, she found herself unable to disguise her emotions upon receiving the silver. Thus, the McKayla Maroney is Not Impressed meme was born.
When the Olympic squad went to the White House this fall to meet Obama, the president couldn't help himself when he posed for a photo with Maroney. But nevertheless, it's safe to say he was still pretty impressed with her.
Bradley Cooper and DeSean Jackson
You kind of have to see Silver Linings Playbook to appreciate this one, but if you have, you will.
The movie, which is being heralded as a potential Oscar contender, chronicles the life of a dude (Bradley Cooper) whose OCD dad (Robert DeNiro) is convinced that all of his family members have to sit or stand in a certain spot/wear a certain shirt/only converse with certain people in order for the Philadelphia Eagles to win every Sunday. Jackson's name is dropped several times throughout the movie, especially during a hilarious formal dinner party scene in which Cooper shows up wearing his beloved No. 10 jersey.
In early November, Cooper got to meet Jackson at an Eagles practice. Sadly, though, no amount of juju or superstitious behaviors could salvage Philly's 2012 season.
Novak Djokovic Mocks the End of the World
Those who have seen Novak Djokovic's hilarious imitations of other tennis stars know he has a quite a bit of personality—and those who follow him on Twitter see plenty of it a few times a week.
We've all made fun of the 2012 end-of-the-world hysteria and Djokovic was no exception. When Dec. 21 came and went with little fanfare, the tennis champion and a few of his cohorts mocked the fear that seemed to run rampant in the days leading up to the moment the Mayans declared the world would end.
Djokovic tweeted an image of himself and three friends kneeling on the ground, arms raised, as clouds rolled across the sky Melancholia-style on the morning of Dec. 21. The caption reads, "Oh, is this the end of the world?"—accompanied by a triple smiley face.
Eli Manning Acts out an Emoticon on 'SNL'
The best part of the New York Giants' Super Bowl victory wasn't the fact that they beat Tom Brady and the Patriots yet again, or that they had earned football's most coveted prize. It was the fact that Eli Manning's text message evidence skit on SNL stemmed from that Super Bowl victory.
The Giants QB was tapped to host the NBC variety show a couple of months after winning his second ring, and in one of the funniest skits of the season, Manning plays an accused murderer whose attorney attempts to exonerate using Manning's text message log. (You just have to watch the video).
The above image—Manning's demonstration of an emoticon he sent to a...love interest—is another wonderful byproduct of the skit.
Everyone thought Peyton was supposed to be the funny one. Who knew Eli had it in him?
The Beginning of Eva & Mark
So this is where it all began—or perhaps where it all ended, depending on how much stock you put in celebrity relationship curses.
New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez and Desperate Housewives' Eva Longoria were first seen out and about together over the summer, and the New York Post snapped this shot of them dining with friends in the early stages of their ill-fated relationship, which was almost as short-lived as Sanchez's success in the NFL. The pair split after three months, according to the New York Daily News.
Apparently, Longoria was on the right track: Shortly after she dumped him, so too did the Jets—as their starting quarterback.
One Direction and Drew Brees Team Up for Pepsi
Here, we have the birth of one of the greatest celebrity-athlete duos of the year: Drew Brees and One Direction.
It wasn't too long ago that Brees was the It Guy of the NFL. He brought the Lombardi Trophy to New Orleans shortly after Hurricane Katrina devastated the region and off the field, he was just as popular. Unfortunately, 2012 was a bit of a rough year for him and his Saints—but there's nothing like a little singing and dancing with the It Guys of the music world to make people forget about that whole bounty scandal.
Brees and One Direction teamed up with Pepsi to shoot a hilarious ad in which we learned one thing: The only thing that can combat hoards of screaming fangirls is hoards of screaming fanboys/men.
And now, Brees knows he has a job waiting for him when his NFL days are over. As long as he works on his dance moves a bit.
Barry Zito Reenacts 'The Notebook' Poster
San Francisco Giants pitcher Barry Zito has long been considered one of the pretty boys of Major League Baseball. And after he won his second World Series this fall, he took it upon himself to act the part like never before.
The MLB captured the above image of Zito and wife Amber Seyer as they celebrated San Francisco's victory on the field. As the MLB tweeted, their posing bore an uncanny resemblance to the movie poster for one of the most popular chick flicks of the decade:
Barry Zito and his wife take a page straight out of The Notebook: atmlb.com/Sge9p5— MLB (@MLB) October 23, 2012
Maybe Ryan Gosling really should watch his back.
Floyd Mayweather Shows Justin Bieber Some Love
If Prince Fielder's bonding session with Eminem didn't provide us with the most awkward celebrity-athlete photo of the year, then Justin Bieber's photo op with Floyd Mayweather did.
When Mayweather stepped into the ring with Miguel Cotto back in May, there was a large celebrity turnout, as expected—but Justin Bieber at a boxing match? Really? Maybe it's because he still looks like he's 12, but seeing the Biebs and one of the greatest boxers of the century ham it up post-match was a bit of a jarring image.
It's hard to believe that there are two people who have less in common than the prince of teen pop and the WBC welterweight champion, but hey. Whatever floats their boats.
Ray Lewis and Michael Phelps Hang Out
Baltimore is home to some serious athlete superstar-power.
The Ravens, of course, have been one of the AFC's finest teams for several years now, and mostly, it's because of their defense. Specifically, Ray Lewis—despite the fact that he's been injured for most of 2012—has anchored this unit, leading the team to winning records in six of the last seven seasons and five consecutive playoff berths.
Meanwhile, this summer, Maryland native Michael Phelps set a record for the most Olympic gold medals when he won his 18th in London.
It was only fitting, then, for the two of them to log some hang time after Lewis finished up a workout at the Ravens' camp at the end of this summer, presenting us with an image that, as Phelps tweeted of Lewis, was "#sopowerful".
Ryan Lochte and Hannah Montana
In many ways, Ryan Lochte and Miley Cyrus are very similar.
For one thing, they are both polarizing. People tend to either love the Olympic swimmer and the boundless joy he unintentionally provokes with his boneheaded answers to interview questions, or they tend to think he's annoying and overexposed (by the media, duh).
Similarly, Miley Cyrus is either beloved by the fans who refuse to part ways with their love for Hannah Montana and "The Climb," or they find her to be phony, insufferable and, again, overexposed.
And what do you know? The two stars managed to find their ways into each other's arms at the I Heart Music festival earlier this month. What a lovely pair they make. Alas, too bad Miley is engaged to Gale Hawthorne/Thor's little bro.