10 for 2010: Future Sports Superstars
These are the 10 athletes who, in my opinion, will become household names in 2010. With apologies to the rest of the world, this list is primarily based towards the American market. Undoubtedly, future stars will emerge at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, however I'm sticking to names that will be remembered in American households for years to come.
10. Didier Drogba - Ivory Coast (Soccer/Football)
Of course, soccer (football) fans are already stunned and are saying "but he already is a star!" Yes, Drogba is already an elite footballer for Chelsea, however, it will be his performance in next years 2010 FIFA World Cup that will be turning heads, as the Ivory Coast has a realistic shot at competing for a World Cup title, and becoming the first African nation to do so.
9. Michael Crabtree - San Francisco 49ers (NFL)
If you haven't seen a recent San Francisco 49ers game, you'd be surprised he's on this list. Mark my words, Crabtree will become the best player to emerge from the 2009 NFL Draft. Like him or not, he simply possess a special talent that many others don't have. Do yourself a favor and pay attention to what he does for the rest of this year, and it is only the start of what seems to be an illustrious career in the NFL.
8. Matt Wieters - Baltimore Orioles (MLB)
Hey, Orioles fans! You have a reason to be excited for next year! To most scouts, Wieters is the next Joe Mauer. Fantasy Baseball enthusiasts take note, you want to win your league next year? Take Wieters or Rookie San Francisco Giant Buster Posey in your fantasy league in 2010.
7. Dejuan Blair - San Antonio Spurs (NBA)
There's not much to be said, other than HOW COULD HE FALL TO NUMBER 37??? REALLY??? And people wonder why the San Antonio Spurs are consistently good, not only is Blair a steal, he will be the runner up for Rookie Of The Year in 2010 and will be a future All-Star within the next five years.
6. Andrew Bailey - Oakland Athletics (MLB)
Sure, he just won the 2009 AL Rookie of the Year, but since he's in Oakland, have you realized how dominant he is? Bailey will be traded to a contender by the trade deadline (for prospects of course-moneyball!) and will change the outcome of a pennant race. Unless of course, the A's actually pay up for one of their marquee players.
5. Matt Duchene - Colorado Avalanche (NHL)
Duchene has replaced Joe Sakic on the NHL's surprise team of the year and is a front runner for the Calder Trophy. Personally, he kind of reminds me of a young Joe Thornton, but with an even higher ceiling.
4. John Wall - University of Kentucky (NCAA Men's Basketball)
Get used to the name, basketball fans. John Wall to many is considered the next Derrick Rose, and is already considered to be the consensus No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. Keep crossing your fingers, Nets fans, you never know, a backcourt with Wall and Devin Harris might bring you back to contention in the Eastern Conference.
3. Stephen Strasburg - Washington Nationals (MLB)
Nationals fans probably think this ranking is too low, and who knows? They might be right. Strasburg will be the most talked about and most scrutinized rookie in 2010, and if he isn't the National League Rookie Of The Year, it will be a disappointing season for the 21-year-old flamethrower.
2. Chris Johnson - Tennessee Titans (NFL)
Yes, Chris Johnson is already a star and is on pace for over 2000 yards this season. However, quick, name the best running back in the NFL? Chances are you just muttered the words "Adrian Peterson." Well, in 2010, that's gonna change, barring injury. "Every Coaches Dream" will become the number one pick in your fantasy drafts, and the unquestioned best running back in the league. He wants us to view him in the same light as LeBron, and you know what? If he keeps up the pace he's on right now, we very well might.
1. Brandon Jennings - Milwaukee Bucks (NBA)
Surprised? Don't be. Jennings is the best player that the Bucks have had since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Moses Malone. After already going for 55 points against the Warriors and single-handedly winning the NBA Rookie Of The Year award already after the first month (with apologies to Blake Griffin) there's no stopping him. Trust me, a mere prognosticator, but in the years to come, he will join the ranks of Kobe, LeBron, and Dwayne Wade and become the elite point guard in the NBA. Sorry, Knicks fans.