Ah, Thanksgiving. The day our nation sets aside every year to give thanks, stuff our faces with amazing food, and watch football. God bless America!
Here in South Florida, we have so many things to be thankful for: the weather, the surroundings, the lifestyle, and, of course, our sports. Beyond the more important things in life like family and health, sports play a big of part as anything else in keeping us sane year-round, and for that we are extremely thankful.
Sports is entertainment, one of the few constants in life, and one of the only things set on a schedule that will happen regardless of how your week goes. So let's give thanks to those people that make our entertainment that much more fun and our sports that much more sportastic.
Miami Hurricanes Head Coach Jim Larranaga
All coach Larranaga has done since he arrived at the University of Miami is go 71-36, lead the school to it's first ACC title in eleven years, and take the team to a Sweet Sixteen in 2013 -- a pretty impressive three-year resume for the coach of a basketball team at a football school. Larranaga has Hurricanes fans once again giving thanks this year, with his team off to an impressive 5-0 start that includes a road win over a Top 10 Florida Gators team.
Larranaga has been a breath of fresh air lately for Canes fans who are searching out something to feel good about, and it's much appreciated.
Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade
What more really can be said about arguably the greatest athlete in South Florida sports history? Dwyane Wade really is a once-in-a-generation type of player we better all appreciate while he's still here. Without Wade, the Miami Heat would be just another NBA team, because with him they have won three titles in just eight years and provided some of the most exciting sports moments you will ever see. Wade is a huge part of why the Heat is constantly referred to as one of the classiest organizations in sports. And he's the main reason so many great players have come to join him in Miami in his career.
Miami Hurricanes running back Duke Johnson
They say every cloud has a silver lining, right? Well Duke Johnson lines the clouds that have followed Miami Hurricanes football over the last few years in gold. Duke Johnson came to Miami when most weren't trying to deal with the NCAA mess, and he'll leave the program as the best running back to ever put on "The U" football helmet. Safe to say he has been rewarded for his loyalty to the city of Miami.
Although Hurricanes fans haven't had to much to cheer about as of late, Duke Johnson has always made them proud, and for that, they are thankful.
Director Billy Corben
Director of numerous documentaries centered around all things Miami including the upcoming ESPN 30 For 30 The U Part 2, Billy Corben has become a huge voice for the city of Miami. Whether it be calling out shady police work, or leading Hurricanes fans in their support (or anger), Corben represents South Florida well and has the voice to bring issues to light that need more attention in the community. His ridiculously interesting documentaries, and passion for the community and it's teams, make Billy Corben a must follow on social media, and a terrific mouthpiece for the fans.
Some people are just Miami, Billy Corben is one of those people.
Miami Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes
Optimus Grimes has been a blessing for Miami Dolphins fans since he signed with the team last offseason. Grimes has nine interceptions in his short stint with the team and has provided the team with the type of secondary play fans hadn't seen since Pat Surtain and Sam Madison roamed the Miami Gardens grass.
Without Brent Grimes this year, the Miami Dolphins last handful of games probably don't matter, so Miami Dolphins fans are thankful he's here, and they do matter.
Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton
I'd say thank you, but let's be honest here, the Marlins said thank you for all of us last week in the form a $325 million-dollar, 13-year contract. Like Duke Johnson with the Hurricanes, Stanton has been the last rock Marlins fans had to cling to for a long time. It was assumed Stanton's time in Miami was coming to an end sooner than later, but that all took a turn for the fist-pumps last week, and Miami is looking forward to yelling "MONSTER DONG!" many more times in the immediate future.
We knew him when he went by Mike, that's love.
The Dan LeBatard Show
After a decade of dominating the local airwaves, the rest of the nation recently got a chance to experience the awesomeness that is The Dan LeBatard Show when ESPN took it national, and we got a little jealous at first. Thankfully, the show hasn't changed much since going big time, nope, it still listens like being at the bar with your friends after work, talking about yesterdays game. Dan LeBatard, Stugotz, Mike Ryan, and Roy Bellamy make it seem so easy from 3 to 7 p.m. every afternoon, then you hear some clips from other cities sports radio shows, and realize it's not; they are just that talented.
Sports are nothing if we can't sit around and talk about them with our friends, and The Dan LeBatard Show makes you feel like that's what you are doing each and every afternoon.
Miami Hurricanes quarterback Brad Kaaya
Yoooooo, we needed this dude. Brad Kaaya was expected to be the future of the Miami Hurricanes quarterback position, but just then, all hell broke loose, and suddenly he was the present. Kaaya has proven to be up to the challenge on short notice, and has shined in his first year on the Coral Gables campus. The 2014 season may have been a disappointment, but Brad Kaaya has been tremendous in his rookie campaign, giving Miami Hurricanes fans a reason to feel like the programs future has a light at the end of the tunnel.
Now when Duke Johnson leaves, change your number to eight, Kaaya. Everyone needs the "Kaaya Ocho" nickname in their lives next year.
Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez
We missed the kid this year, and we can't wait to get him back. Even residents of Miami who don't particularly love baseball, know who Jose Fernandez is. How can you not? Before he was injured this season and underwent Tommy John surgery, Jose Fernandez had become a household name among baseball fans, not the easiest thing to do when you play in Little Havana.
One of the brightest stars in the game became a fan favorite right away when he has unexpectedly added to the roster before the season, and with the news of Stanton's long term contract, fans should expect the Marlins to similarly commit to their young ace in the near future. Thankfully, because Jose Fernandez is so much fun.
Miami Heat Owner Micky Arison
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The man with the mid-'90s plan, Arison has arguably brought more joy to South Florida sports fans than any other man or woman before him. Since Arison brought in Pat Riley to the organization, it's been nothing but late season runs, movie script drama, and downtown parades, something the town desperately needed with the other teams having a hard time recently.
Micky Arison has brought so many fantastic moments into your life, and always represents the city of Miami above and beyond what one could expect, and for that we are thankful.