Only in Los Angeles: the Top-10 moments of the year in sports

LOS ANGELES, Mar. 15, 2012 – In our homogenized, chain-store world, it’s always fun to find a local tradition which is truly local. The Los Angeles Sports Council’s Los Angeles Sports Awards, held tonight at the Club Nokia at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles is such an event.

The program celebrates the top-10 moments of the year in sports as selected by a media panel and an online fan vote, plus the top moments of the year for each of the major teams in the area and individual awards for the SportsMan, SportsWoman, Coach of the Year and Sports Executive of the Year.

I have been privileged to serve as the writer and producer of the live program, which runs about three hours including dinner, for the past six editions and each one is different and exciting in its own way.

We celebrated the top moments of 2011, and in order of presentation, with the date of each moment:

(10) UCLA wins NCAA Women’s Volleyball title (December 17): The Bruins defeated four-time defending champ Penn State and #1 Texas en route to the schools’s 108th NCAA title.

(9) Lakers’ Kobe Bryant wins the All-Star Game MVP award (February 20): Bryant scored 37 points to lead the West squad to a win in the NBA All-Star Game at Staples Center.

(8) Ducks’ Corey Perry wins NHL’s Hart Trophy (June 22): Perry scored a league-best 50 goals on the way to earning League’s MVP honors.

(7) Clippers trade for CP3 (December 14): The Clippers stunned the basketball world by acquiring for All-Star point guard Chris Paul.

(6) Clippers’ Blake Griffin’s “slam-sational” rookie campaign (February 19): Griffin won the Slam Dunk contest at NBA All-Star Weekend on the way to earning League Rookie of the Year honors.

(5) Huntington Beach Little Leaguers win it all (August 28): The Ocean View All-Stars from Huntington Beach beat Japan, 2-1, in the championship game of the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

(4) Matt Kemp’s breakout season: Dodgers outfielder Kemp punctuated an outstanding season by winning the Hank Aaron, Silver Slugger and Gold Glove awards.

(3) Angels’ signing of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson on the same day (December 8): The Angels landed two of the most prized free agents on the market, signing star players Pujols and Wilson to long-term contracts worth $331.5 million.

(2) Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw wins N.L. Cy Young (November 17): Kershaw captured pitching’s highest individual award, leading the National League in wins, strikeouts and earned run average.

(1) L.A. Galaxy wins MLS Cup (November 20): The Galaxy beat Houston, 1-0, on Landon Donovan’s second-half goal in the Finals, played at The Home Depot Center.

The individual awards including one of the world’s great track & field stars:

• Sportsman of the Year: Kershaw.

• Sportswoman of the Year: sprinter and double World Champion Carmelita Jeter, better known as the “World’s Fastest Woman.”

• Coach of the Year: USC football coach Lane Kiffin.

• Sports Executive of the Year: Arte Moreno, owner of the Angels.

• The late Chuck Miller, the long-time head of Avery Dennison, was the first recipient of the new John C. Argue Award, given in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the business of sports in the Los Angeles area.

A condensed version of the awards, hosted by Chris McGee and Patrick O’Neal, is shown on Fox Sports West and Prime Ticket, with multiple replays, giving people throughout the area a chance to see it.

To my knowledge, nothing similar is staged anywhere else. It’s a great way to salute a city in which more national champions have been crowned than any other, and I am delighted to be able to play a part in it.

(You can stay current with Rich’s technology, sports and Olympic commentaries by following him at www.twitter.com/RichPerelman.)

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