1. Toronto Raptors win NBA championship
Canadians everywhere can thank Raptors President Masai Ujiri for constructing one of the savviest trades in professional sports history. Ujiri secured Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green by trading DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a first-round pick to the San Antonio Spurs.
Leonard’s year of load management paid off. He hit “the shot,” the first-ever
buzzer-beater in game six on June 13.
In the NBA Finals, Toronto faced the Golden State Warriors, a powerhouse team that captured three of the past four championships on four straight trips to the final stage. It was David versus Goliath manifested on the NBA hardwood with the Raptors capturing the title in six games.
Leonard would be named the male athlete of the year by The Associated Press for his outstanding efforts.
2. Bianca Andreescu earns Grand Slam singles title
Andreescu went from unknown to a household name in 2019.
The Mississauga native entered the year ranking 107 on the World Tennis Association’s rankings. She finished the year ranked fifth in the world, largely thanks to her historic win at the US Open.
On Sept. 7, Andreescu defeated Serena Williams, regarded as one of the best athletes of all time, in straight sets during the final round, 6-3 and 7-5. Andreescu launched herself into superstardom. She has since been interviewed by many influential international media outlets.
At just 19 years old, she has a chance to cement her legacy further with the 2020 Olympic Games scheduled in Tokyo.
3. Brooke Hendersen claims ninth LPGA title
The 22-year-old Ontario native has earned the most victories of any golfer in Canadian sports history.
On June 16, she won her ninth major LPGA title, breaking a four-way tie for most major golfing titles by a Canadian golfer. She was previously tied with Mike Weir, Sandra Post and George Knudson.
Hendersen has already cemented her name as the most successful golfer our country has ever produced. Much like Andreescu, she has her entire career ahead of her with plenty of opportunities to cement her everlasting legacy.
4. Winnipeg Blue Bombers take the 107th Grey Cup
A week after defeating the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Regina, the Blue Bombers finally won the Canadian Football League’s top prize, the Grey Cup, for the first time in 29 years.
It had been the longest championship drought for any CFL team, even Roughriders fans could not fret about tipping their cap to their top rival standing above the competition for the first time in nearly three decades.
Blue Bomber fan Chris Matthews, also known as Shorts Guy, made Winnipeg’s team a little bit more loveable heading into the contest. Back in 2001, Matthews had pledged to his family and friends that he would never wear pants again until his beloved Blue Bombers won the Grey Cup.
He stuck to his word. The only exception he would make is a pair of long johns underneath his shorts, only on the coldest days of the winter.
Following Winnipeg’s win on Nov. 24, Matthews put on a pair of pants on the field for the first time in nearly two decades. Sports does weird things to people.
Graphic: Kawhi Leonard Artwork