The 25 Most Fun Guys to Watch in Sports

Nick Dimengo@@itsnickdimengoFeatured ColumnistApril 18, 2014

The 25 Most Fun Guys to Watch in Sports

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez

    You know that feeling every sports fan gets when they just can't take their eyes of the action?

    When we're in awe of what some of our favorite athletes are doing, making us say, "wow" at just about everything they're doing.

    Whether that's hitting a clutch shot, making a big-time catch or belting a walk-off hit, some athletes just make us fans have to watch because they're so fun to cheer for.

    And these are just a few of them.

Iouri Podladtchikov

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    Although Shaun White has ruled the snowboarding half-pipe for over a decade now, it seems that there's a new sheriff in town—and his name happens to be Iouri Podladtchikov.

    With one of the coolest nicknames in sports—I-Pod—Podladtchikov also has one of the dopest tricks, too, pulling off the first ever YOLO flip to win himself Olympic gold.

    Snowboarding might not be the world's most-popular sport, but fans would be wise to catch this kid on the slopes.

Marshall Henderson

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    His college hoops career might be over, but that doesn't mean Ole Miss' Marshall Henderson didn't entertain the hell out of us while wearing his Rebel colors.

    While more than a bit obnoxious, I actually think that Henderson was good for college basketball, bringing back a guy who every opposing fan booed whenever he stepped foot on their home court—and he loved embracing his role as the villain.

Peyton Manning and Tom Brady

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    They may both be older, but tell me two other quarterbacks besides Peyton Manning and Tom Brady that have accomplished as much during the past 15 years.

    There aren't any.

    The two might both be quiet competitors and try to avoid the limelight and drama like other signal-callers, but for those who enjoy winning and seeing how the position should be played, Manning and Brady are as good as they get.

Alex Ovechkin

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    Winning the Maurice Richard Trophy for the fourth time in his career this season, Washington Capitals All-Star captain Alex Ovechkin has proven to be a goal-scoring machine—averaging nearly 47 goals per season in his nine-year career.

    While I'd like to see him have more team success to coincide with his individual accolades, Ovie plays with a joy that few other players can match.

Andrew McCutchen

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    I actually feel like I'm doing Andrew McCutchen a disservice by not putting him ahead of other baseball players on my list—because he's one hell of a talent.

    Last year's N.L. MVP, McCutchen led his Pittsburgh Pirates to the postseason for the first time in 21 years—though they bowed out in five games in the NLDS.

    Still, with the three-time All-Star locked up, the Pirates have a cornerstone in McCutchen to build around for a long time.

Dirk Nowitzki

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    I know, he's 35 years old and in the twilight of his career, but tell me who is more fun to watch in their mid-30s than Dirk Nowitzki?

    Leading his Dallas Mavericks to the playoffs for the 13th time in 16 seasons, the one-time NBA champ still shows that he can stroke it with the best of them, connecting on 49 percent of his shots this year and averaging a team-high 21.7 points per game.

    He'll never be the most athletic guy in an arena or make fans go nuts over a impossible slam, but he's nasty with the ball in his hands—especially as time wilts away.

Usain Bolt

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    I mean, the guy is the fastest human on earth, so why wouldn't he be exciting to see in action?

    Assuming fans' eyes can keep up with Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, the 10 seconds or so it takes for him to complete a race might just be as jolting as any in sports.

    Debating retirement following the 2016 Olympics, now's the time to enjoy a talent that may be missing from the sport for a long time afterwards.

Steven Stamkos

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    Already playing in the league for six seasons, Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos is still just 24, meaning he has plenty of ice time left to leave his mark on the sport—especially if he keeps scoring ridiculous goals like he did last month.

    Winning the Maurice Richard Trophy twice in his career, Stamkos has led his Lightning squad to a postseason berth for the first time in a few years, with sights on a Stanley Cup—which will only add to his already impressive legacy.

Yasiel Puig

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    An absolute freak of nature, L.A. Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig is both exciting and irritating all at once.

    With a cannon arm that can chase down runners on the basepaths and a lethal bat while standing in the box, Puig shows a skill set that few can match.

    If only he can mature a little bit and not be such a headache for his manager, the 23 year old will be one of the best in the game for the next decade or so.

Novak Djokovic

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    It's hard not to appreciate the passion that six-time major champ Novak Djokovic plays with.

    While he's a bit on the strange side with his on-court antics, Djoko is one of the best in the game—currently ranked No. 2 in the world—and loves playing to the crowd during big moments.

    Bottom line, the dude looks like he loves what he does for a living, which makes him fun to watch.

Bryce Harper

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    Washington Nationals All-Star Bryce Harper might be a bit short-tempered, but that only shows me that he's passionate about the game.

    A former N.L Rookie of the Year, Harper excites with big plays in the outfield and at the dish where he's primed for a breakout season after bulking up over the winter.

    With all the talent in the world, the 21 year old should get familiar with his fame—because it'll be growing as he continues to mold into one of the best players in the game.

Joakim Noah

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    Originally having the Houston Rockets' James Harden in this spot, I instead changed to Chicago Bulls All-Star Joakim Noah.


    After recording his fourth triple-double of the season last week, Noah earned himself mad respect for being one of the league's best playmakers—even though he doesn't command the ball.

    He plays with passion, grit and a certain cool about him, making Noah one of my favorite players to watch in the league.

LeSean McCoy

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    NFL running backs might not be viewed as being as important as they used to be, but don't tell that to the league leader in rushing, LeSean McCoy.

    Not only did he run for over 1,600 yards and nine touchdowns for the Philadelphia Eagles, but he proved to be a dual-threat beast, adding 52 catches for 539 yards.

    McCoy's every fantasy football player's dream come true—and he's a nightmare for opposing defenders, juking them out of their kicks to become the league's most exciting rusher.

Lionel Messi

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    For as tiny as Lionel Messi is in stature, he sure makes up for it with the enormity of his game, doesn't he?

    Standing just 5'7", the pint-sized Argentine national and Barcelona club member has a penchant for scoring goals—doing it better than anyone in history for his club team.

    With the World Cup in South America this year, Messi has a chance to etch his names alongside the games' greats should he win the tourney on his home continent—which will be no easy task—yet will definitely be exciting.

Bubba Watson

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    Anyone who needs an explanation of why Bubba Watson is exciting needs to go back and watch the Masters from both 2012 and last weekend.

    The lefty loves the drama of being a golfer, displaying an incredible drive that mixes well with ballsy approach shots that have helped him earn two green jackets in three years.

    Not afraid to let his emotions pour out, Watson is a crowd favorite who soaks it all up.

Billy Hamilton

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    There's fast, and then there's Billy Hamilton fast.

    With blazing speed and an incredible playmaking ability, the Cincinnati Reds rookie outfielder is amazing to see round the bases.

    Still trying to adjust to major league pitching, here's to hoping Hamilton can find his way on-base more often—because he's awesome to watch once there.

Adrian Peterson

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    For anyone who questioned Adrian Peterson's running style when first entering the NFL in 2007, look no further than his record-setting 296 yards in just his eighth pro game.

    All the Minnesota Vikings running back has done since is rush for over 10,000 yards in seven years, including a near single-season record 2,097 yards in 2012.

    He's the most ferocious and feared runner in the game, and he's about as strong as an ox, so he's not afraid to truck through defenders.

Blake Griffin

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    Arguably the best dunker in the NBA this decade, L.A. Clippers forward Blake Griffin has proven to be an all-around player, too.

    But, let's face it, the mind-blowing dunks are why Blake's so exciting to watch.

    Besides maybe LeBron James, there isn't an energy more ferocious in an arena than when Griffin gets near the rim, often jumping over defenders and throwing down jams at ease.

Colin Kaepernick

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    Say what you want about San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's personality, but one thing I know is that he's a winner.

    Since taking over the starting gig for the Niners in 2012, he's led the team to one Super Bowl appearance and another NFC Championship Game, showing that he's got whatever "it" is.

    Still looking for his first ring, Kaep should continue to run and throw all over defenses, displaying a playmaking ability that few dual-threat quarterbacks have.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook

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    OK, so I admit that these two were just too tough to separate—because, when together, they're lethal.

    What Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook bring to the Oklahoma Thunder is both incredible energy and skill, with either one, or both, having the ability to go off on another squad.

    Whether it's pouring in 40-point games or sinking a game-winner, these two young stars are two of the best the league has to offer—and they just happen to be on the same team.

Johnny Manziel

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    Go ahead and say that I'm just buying into the hype, but there's no denying what Johnny Manziel has.

    Competitive, improvisational and savvy on and off the field, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner might not be the ideal quarterback in height or weight, but he's still one of the most prolific players in college football over the past 25 years.

    Who knows how his pro career will go, but here's to hoping he enjoys the same success—because he makes the game fun to watch.

Steph Curry

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    Considered to be one of the greatest shooters in the NBA—even by his peers—Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry is scary good with the ball in his hands.

    In fact, it seems like every night I turn on Sportscenter, the kid is going off for either another 40-point game or hitting a game-winner.

    Curry is absolutely electric on the basketball court, and, although he has a quiet demeanor, is one of the toughest competitors the league has right now.

Cristiano Ronaldo

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    What Cristiano Ronaldo can do on the soccer pitch is just dirty, putting both touch and pace on a ball to completely confuse a goalie.

    The Portugal national and Real Madrid club member epitomizes what every manager wants in a star, exuding a love for both the limelight and the game that some players shy away from or don't know how to handle.

    Add in his incredible foot skills, and CR7 is just about the perfect soccer player on the planet right now.

Mike Trout

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    I'm not really sure there's anything I need to say to justify this one—point blank, Mike Trout is a stud.

    Whether it's landing back-to-back runner-up finishes in the league MVP voting in his first two MLB seasons, or making a spectacular play in the outfield, the L.A. Angels All-Star is one of the best players the game has ever seen.

    Given the fact he's still just 22 years old, this kid could rewrite the record books should he stay healthy over the next two decades—so let's all soak it in.

LeBron James

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    As a Cleveland sports fan, I figured it was time to swallow my pride and do the right thing here—because LeBron James is no doubt the most exciting athlete on the planet.

    I could list all of his accolades like the four league MVPs and back-to-back NBA titles, but what makes LeBron so exciting is that he's a freakish specimen who can run like an Olympic sprinter, withstand hits like a running back, jump out of the gym and has the power of a Sprint Cup car.

    Anything James does, it's usually memorable—especially when it's done on the hardwood.


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