Alexander Mikhaylovich Ovechkin (Russian: Александр Михайлович Овечкин; pronounced [ˈɐlʲɪkˌsɑndr ɐˈvʲetʃkɪn]; born September 17, 1985) is a Russian professional ice hockey left winger and captain of the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League (NHL). Prior to playing in the NHL, Ovechkin played for the now-defunct HC Dynamo Moscow of the Russian Superleague for four seasons from 2001 until 2005.
Ovechkin was the first overall selection in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, drafted from Dynamo after 3 seasons with the club. Because the 2004-05 NHL season was lost because of a lockout, Ovechkin remained with Dynamo for one more season before transferring to the NHL for the 2005–06 NHL season, in which he won the Calder Memorial Trophy for Rookie of the Year, scoring 52 goals and 54 assists to lead all rookies with 106 points.
During the 2007–08 season, he led the NHL with 65 goals and 112 points to capture the Rocket Richard and Art Ross Trophies. That season he also won the Lester B. Pearson Award as the top player voted by the NHL Players’ Association and the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league’s MVP. He is the only player to win all four awards since the Rocket Richard Trophy’s inception in 1999. He would lead Team Russia to a gold medal at the World Championships the same year.
In 2009, he again won the Hart Memorial Trophy as league MVP, the Lester B. Pearson Award, and the Rocket Richard Trophy. Ovechkin also led the Capitals to their second consecutive division title. He won the Ted Lindsay Award, which the Pearson Award had been renamed, for a third straight year in 2010, as well as being named to the First All-Star Team for a fifth consecutive season.
LeBron Raymone James (pronounced /ləˈbrɒn/; born December 30, 1984) is an American professional basketball player for the Miami Heat of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Nicknamed “King James”, he was a three-time “Mr. Basketball” of Ohio in high school, and was highly promoted in the national media as a future NBA superstar while a sophomore at St. Vincent – St. Mary High School. At just 18, he was selected with the number one pick in the 2003 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers and signed a shoe contract with Nike before his professional debut. Listed as a small forward, James has set numerous youngest player records since joining the league. He was named the NBA Rookie of the Year in 2003–04, NBA Most Valuable Player in 2008–09 and 2009–10, and has been both All-NBA selection and an All-Star every season since 2005. In 2010, a much-publicized free agency process ended with James going to the Miami Heat. He became the third reigning NBA MVP to change teams and the first since Moses Malone in 1982.
The focal point of the Cleveland offense, James led the team to consecutive playoff appearances from 2006 through 2010. In 2007, the Cavaliers advanced to the Conference Finals for the first time since 1992 and to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history. James has been a member of the USA national team, winning a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics and gold at the 2008 Olympics.
LeBron James left Cleveland in July 2010 to go to the Miami Heat. James came under fire for hosting a prime time special called “The Decision,” where he announced that he would sign with the Heat along with other NBA stars Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.
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Dwyane Tyrone Wade, Jr. (born January 17, 1982) nicknamed Flash or D-Wade, is an American professional basketball player for the Miami Heat. Awarded 2006 Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated, Wade has established himself as one of the most well-known and popular players in the league. He had the top selling jersey in the NBA for nearly two years, as he led the NBA in jersey sales from the 2005 NBA playoffs, until the mid-point of the 2006–07 season.
After entering the league as the fifth pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, Wade was named to the All-Rookie team and the All-Star team the following seven seasons. In his third season, Wade helped lead the Miami Heat to their first NBA Championship in franchise history. He was named the 2006 NBA Finals MVP as he helped lead the Heat to a 4–2 series win over the Dallas Mavericks. At the 2008 Summer Olympics, Wade led the United States Men’s Basketball team, commonly known as the “Redeem Team”, in scoring, as they captured gold medal honors in Beijing, China. In the 2008–09 season, Wade led the league in scoring and earned his first NBA scoring title.
Kevin Maurice Garnett (born May 19, 1976) is an American professional basketball player who currently plays power forward for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA). After a high school basketball career at Farragut Career Academy which included winning a national player of the year award, he skipped college and entered the NBA Draft. He was selected with the 5th overall pick in the 1995 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves and became the first NBA player drafted directly out of high school in 20 years.
Garnett made an immediate impact with the Minnesota Timberwolves leading them to eight-consecutive playoff appearances. In 2004, Garnett led the Timberwolves to the Western Conference Finals and was voted Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the 2003–04 season. In the 2000 Summer Olympics, he won a gold medal as a member of the USA men’s national basketball team. Since his second season in the league, Garnett has been named to every All-Star Game, which includes winning the All-Star MVP award in 2003. He was awarded the regular season’s NBA Defensive Player of the Year in the 2007–08 season and has been a nine-time member of the All-NBA Teams selection and a ten-time member of the All-Defensive Teams selection. Garnett currently holds several all-time Timberwolves franchise records.
After spending 12 seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Garnett went to the Boston Celtics in a blockbuster trade. In his first year with the Celtics, he helped them win their 17th title, and the Celtics’ first NBA championship since 1986.
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