Holiday Gift Guide: The 25 Best Presents for Sports Fans
With Hanukkah already in full swing and the Christmas shopping season heating up, it's time to head on over to the mall and get your holiday shopping done.
Sports fans are a tough crowd—always needing the latest gadgets and team apparel—and that's especially hard for someone looking for good deals working with a budget.
So if you're in need of a little help with your holiday shopping list, here's my ever-so-wise list of the Top 25 Gifts for sports fans in 2010.
Apple's iPad is a must-have for sports fans—if you've got a spare few hundred dollars to spend.
With the ability to watch NFL, NBA, MLB (and any day now, NHL) games on it (subscriptions required, of course), the iPad does it all for sports fans.
You can watch, organize a feed for your favorite teams' news, play sports-related games, check scores and a whole lot else with just the tap of your finger.
It might not be worth the $499 price tag (minimum, depending on the model), but if you can afford it, take the leap of faith and buy an iPad.
24. Adidas Jabulani Soccer Ball
For the soccer player, get the ball that caused so much controversy at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the Adidas Jabulani.
The ball dips-and-dives unpredictably, and would make a perfect gift for the soccer fan among us.
The only downside: the authentic version costs $149.
But you can get a replica for just $25.
By now you've probably all heard of fathead, the maker of life-sized high-quality stickers that fit right on your wall.
As an owner of one, I can attest to how good they look and their exceptional durability.
Find a wide variety of teams/players here.
And for the fantasy football fan, check out their dry-erase draft board.
22. Nike + iPod
For the runner—or someone trying to get in-shape as his/her New Year's resolution—I bring you the Nike iPod sensor.
It tracks your runs, gives you feedback and syncs up with your iPod.
For just $29 (you'll need an iPod and compatitble Nike running shoes, though), it's a steal.
21. Mitchell & Ness Throwback Jersey
Mitchell & Ness, by far the best-manufacturer of throwback jerseys, has a array of throwback jerseys (and other apparel) that any die-hard would kill to have.
But as nice as they are, they aren't cheap.
As a Yankees fan, I'd especially love this Babe Ruth Boston Braves throwback to rub in Red Sox fans' faces.
Check out their selection of jerseys and the rest here.
20. Nike ID Shoes
Nike ID shoes are only available online, but custom-made Nikes—especially in your favorite team's colors—are a great gift for sports fans.
Check out the endless combinations here.
19. Ticket Stub Diary
For the old-fashioned fan who gets off his/her couch and goes to games, a Ticket Stub diary is the perfect choice to preserve your greatest (and worst) sports memories.
And for just $10, what could be better?
18. EA SPORTS Active NFL Training Camp (for Wii)
As seen in Chad Ochocinco's commercials, this Wii game allows you to simulate a host of actual drills that NFL players participate in.
It'll get you in shape and make you feel like an NFL player (for $99.99).
17. New Era Official MLB Cap
For the MLB fan, you can never go wrong with the classic 59Fifty fitted hat from New Era, the same hat the pros wear.
Get them here, for $33.99.
16. LeBron James Jersey
For the bandwagon fan, get a LeBenedict Arnold jersey for just $44.99.
LeBron has a whole lot of haters, but bandwagon fans, don't be afraid to show your support!
15. Madden 11
For the video-game lover, splurge for the $59.99 video game, the latest installment of the greatest video game series of all time.
It's well worth it.
Find it here.
14. FIFA 11
Earlier FIFA games pale in comparison to the new-and-improved version (and the past few were pretty good themselves).
If the one you're buying for doesn't have this yet, do him/her a favor and buy it here.
Despite Americans' aversion to soccer, FIFA has a tremendous following, especially amongst college students.
13. NHL 11
My favorite of the sports video games, NHL 11 is perhaps the most realistic and fun sports video game out there.
The NHL might not have as many fans as the other major sports, but it does have the best video game.
Find it here.
12. The Book of Basketball By Bill Simmons
ESPN's Bill Simmons is arguably the best sportswriter on the web, and his book, The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to the Sports Guy, is a must-have for NBA fans.
And hey, if you've been listening so far, that special someone you gave that iPad to can use it to read this terrific book.
11. ESPN Insider
For $6.95 a month, ESPN.com's insider service (which gives access to articles on its website not available to the non-paying consumer) is easily worth the money for the avid sports fans.
Giving extra analysis and it's incredible "Rumor Central" section, Insider is an absolute necessity for anyone wanting to stay up-to-date on his/her sports knowledge.
10. UnderArmour ColdGear
ColdGear might seem like a rip-off at $49.99, but it works wonders when trying to stay warm while playing a sport in cold weather.
For this upcoming winter season, it's a must-have for anyone trying to play sports outside.
9. NFL Replica Jersey
Every NFL fan should proudly wear his/her team's jerseys every Sunday.
Help him/her out, by buying your choice of team/player here.
And if you can't find a certain player, go for a customized one, with any player's (or the giftee's) name on the back.
8. Bowl Game Tickets
Holiday season means another even more exciting season is on its way—bowl season.
Buy whoever you're looking for tickets to his/her's alma mater's bowl game.
7. Season Tickets
If you're really looking to splurge, there is no better gift than season tickets for a sports fan's favorite team.
But you'd better really love him/her if you're gonna do this.
Check out the giftee's favorite team's website for details.
6. Sports Collectibles
Sports collectibles are always a great idea, whether it's an autographed jersey, picture, or even an authentic stadium seat like the ones from the original Yankee Stadium pictured to the left.
Steiner Sports has one of the best selections of sports collectibles out there.
5. NHL GameCenter Live
For $20.99 monthly or a $169.99 single-payment, the out-of-market sports fan can watch HD-quality NHL games on his/her computer, iPad (soon), phone or TV (with a PS3 or Boxee).
If someone can't see his/her favorite team in action, it's well worth it.
Sign up here.
4. NBA League Pass
The NBA's version of NHL GameCenter Live, this is a perfect gift for an NBA fan.
Prices start at $119.95, and you can sign up here.
3. The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood, By Jane Leavy
Amazon's No. 1 ranked sports book at the current moment in time, The Last Boy is a must-read autobiography for any baseball fan, especially a fan of the Yankees.
2. Born to Run, By Christopher McDougall
Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen is an incredible book about a virtually-unknown tribe of superathlete ultrarunners.
It's a must-read for sports fans and non-sports fans alike.
1. Moneyball, By Michael Lewis
Moneyball is perhaps the best sports book of all time, and if a sports fan hasn't read it, it's a clear choice as a holiday gift, depsite the fact that it came out in 2004.
Matt Rudnitsky is a student at the University of Michigan and a Featured Columnist/writing intern at Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Mattrud.