Our 16 Favorite Photos of 2016

Jed Jacobsohn/The Players' Tribune

2016 was a historic year in sports. The Chicago Cubs broke a 108-year World Series drought; the Cleveland Cavaliers became the first NBA team to come back to win an NBA title after trailing 3–1 in the Finals; and Simone Biles, Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt riveted the sports world at the Summer Olympics in Rio.

All the action kept the photographers at The Players’ Tribune busy. From courtside at the NCAA Final Four, to the backwoods of North Carolina, to behind the scenes at the Cavs’ victory parade, TPT’s photographers covered some of the biggest moments in sports over the last 12 months.

We hope you enjoy our 16 favorite photos of the year. We can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store.

January 28 — San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner, with his bow and arrow in hand, invited us along for a tour of his farm in Hickory, North Carolina. Bumgarner led the Giants to a postseason berth in 2016, and followed up with a dominant Wild-Card performance against the Mets.

Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/The Players’ Tribune

February 16 — A few months before appearing in her first Olympic Games, Brittney Griner posed for a portrait while training with the U.S. Women’s Basketball team in Storrs, Connecticut. Griner earned her first gold medal this summer. One Olympics, one gold medal. Not bad for a summer’s work.

Photo by Tim Clayton/The Players’ Tribune

March 6 — We accompanied fencer Ibtihaj Muhammed to her sister’s wedding in Wood-Ridge, New Jersey. Five months later, in Rio, Muhammed would make history by becoming the first American Olympian to wear a hijab during competition.

Photo by Lynn Johnson/The Players’ Tribune

April 4 — We dodged confetti in Houston as the Villanova Wildcats celebrated their thrilling NCAA national title victory over the University of North Carolina. Villanova’s buzzer-beater may go down as one of the shiniest shining moments in March Madness history.

Photo by Sam Maller/The Players’ Tribune

April 29 — Just a few weeks after Kobe Bryant’s final NBA game, TPT spent the day with the Mamba while he filmed a commercial for Ghostbusters ahead of its release. With a number of sports and business ventures already in motion, the future Hall of Famer looks to be making a seamless transition to life after the NBA.

Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/The Players’ Tribune

May 11 — We tagged along with Chicago Sky star Elena Delle Donne for a private workout with Isabelle Spingola, a high school basketball player from Chicago. Delle Donne was one of the athletes featured in “Scouting Myself,” a TPT video series that pairs high schoolers with professional athletes for a day of training.

Photo by Todd Rosenberg/The Players’ Tribune

June 8 — TPT got a behind-the-scenes tour of the Seattle Seahawks’ practice facility during a pre-season photoshoot with cornerback Richard Sherman. Earlier that day, Sherman visited a high school in Seattle’s inner city to discuss the value of education.

Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/The Players’ Tribune

June 9 — Former Seahawks wide receiver Ricardo Lockette spent some time with TPT in Seattle to discuss the career-ending injury he sustained in a game versus the Cowboys last May. Lockette revealed the surgical scar from his injury, which he wrote about in a story this year on The Players’ Tribune entitled, “Am I About to Die?”

Photo by Taylor Baucom/The Players’ Tribune

June 22 — We followed Kevin Love at the Cavaliers’ NBA Championship parade and rally in Cleveland. After riding (and sometimes standing) in the back of a Bentley as it made its way past a reported 1.3 million fans gathered in downtown Cleveland, Love enjoyed a quiet moment with his WWE championship belts.

Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/The Players’ Tribune

June 23 — We prepped for the NBA draft in New York City with Kentucky’s Jamal Murray and Duke’s Brandon Ingram. In the weeks leading up to the draft, Murray and Ingram were profiled in our “Draft Days” video franchise, which followed their training and preparation ahead of the big night.

Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/The Players’ Tribune

July 12 — Clippers center DeAndre Jordan struck a thoughtful pose during our party at the ESPYs in Los Angeles. After a turbulent offseason in 2015, Jordan returned to the Clippers, who have built one of the NBA’s best records through the first three months of the season.

Photo by Walter Iooss Jr./The Players’ Tribune

August 9 — Michael Phelps beat out rival Chad le Clos of South Africa to win gold in the men’s 200m butterfly in Rio. After winning six medals this summer, Phelps’ total medal tally rose to 28, making him the most decorated Olympian of all-time.

Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/The Players’ Tribune

August 15 — TPT got a front row seat as Cuban hurdler Jhoanis Portilla prepared for his men’s 110m hurdles heat. A few days later, the same track would be the stage for Usain Bolt’s historic “triple-triple” — three gold medals at three straight Olympic Games.

Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/The Players’ Tribune

September 2 — David Ortiz gave TPT an up-close-and-personal look at his batting cage routine during his final trip to the Oakland Coliseum. Big Papi retired from baseball after the 2016 season, going out as one of the greatest athletes in Boston sports history.

Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/The Players’ Tribune

October 22 — We tagged along with Kevin Durant on a tour of the Bay Area. On July 4, Durant announced that after nine seasons with the Thunder, he would begin the next chapter of his career in Northern California as the newest member of the Golden State Warriors.

Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/The Players’ Tribune

November 2 — We witnessed a celebration 108 years in the making, as the Chicago Cubs won the 2016 World Series. Chicago rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to win it all. As rain fell on the city of Cleveland after the game, Cubs fans back home were just beginning to party.

Photo by Taylor Baucom/The Players’ Tribune