Welcome back to the 25 for 25 Series! G-Man is turning 25 on July 23rd and to celebrate, I am counting down each of the sporting years I have been alive for. Full rules on the 25 for 25 Main Page.
Stanley Cup Champion: New Jersey Devils (46-20-10-6, #2 Eastern Conference) — The Devils once again grinded out a tough Eastern Conference playoffs with their solid defensive play led by Marty Broduer and Scott Stevens as they downed the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in an exciting seven-game Stanley Cup Final. Unlike their last championship in 2000, Game Seven did not in controversy. However, Anaheim goalie Jean-Sebastian Giguere won the Conn Smythe trophy for MVP of the postseason.
NBA Champion: San Antonio Spurs (60-22, #1 Western Conference) — 2003 saw the final games some of the NBA’s greats: John Stockton, Michael Jordan and David Robinson. Robinson would win his second championship with the Spurs but it was Tim Duncan that led the way as nearly scored a quadruple-double in game six. 2003 also saw the relocation of the Hornets to New Orleans, who are now the Pelicans. After the new Charlotte franchise renamed themselves with the “Hornets” nickname, this relocation would be retroactive changed to an expansion franchise being added in NOLA. In the summer of 2003, a boy by the name of Lebron James was drafted first overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers, perhaps you’ve heard of him?
World Series Champion: Florida Marlins (91-71, NL Wildcard) — The Marlins took down a seemingly unstoppable New York Yankee team in six games. The Yankees had come off of an intensively close ALCS against the Red Sox that ended with Aaron Boone hitting a walk-off homer. The Marlins also played a seven-game NLCS that should have ended as a loss in six to the Cubs if not for Steve Bartman. Red Sox fans thought their curse would never end and Cubs fans still think that.
Super Bowl Champion: New England Patriots (14-2, #1 AFC) — The Pats won their second Super Bowl in three years in one of the most thrilling games in Super Bowl history. Tom Brady, the game’s MVP, set a Super Bowl record with 32 completions as he tossed three touchdowns and 354 yards. Super Bowl XXVIII was also infamous for Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” incident with Justin Timberlake.
NCAA Football National Champion: LSU Tigers (BCS) and USC (AP Poll) – The first sign the BCS wasn’t necessarily the best way to determine a champion, the system saw major changes going into the next season.
NCAA Men’s Basketball National Champion: Syracuse Orange – Carmelo Anthony and the Orangemen got the job done in Melo’s only season under Jim Boeheim.
Masters Champion: Mike Weir (1st Major)
US Open Champion: Jim Furyk (1st Major)
British Open Champion: Ben Curtis (1st Major)
PGA Champion: Shaun Micheel (1st Major)
2003 is an interesting year. You have exciting championships but none that really pop-up when you think of “signature championships,” not even Brady and the Pats’ second Super Bowl. ’03 reminds me more of Bartman and Boone than it does of Josh Beckett’s World Series performance.