This would've been so easy had LeBron won the title.
Bron would've brought a third-straight championship to South Beach, making Miami only the sixth team in NBA history to three-peat. He probably would still be in a Heat uniform these days, too. The lack of an MVP wouldn't matter. The lack of fans in Ohio wouldn't matter. The lack of a hairline wouldn't matter. LeBron James would be our conclusive No. 1 Best Athlete of 2014 and any arguments saying otherwise would be deservedly met with Kanye style blank stares.
But that's not how things played out in 2014. Old Man Duncan and his band of pass-first foreigners took home the Larry O'Brien, Kevin Durant took home the MVP, and now someone else will be taking home the title of "Best Athlete of 2014".
This year, we saw familiar superstars like LeBron and Peyton Manning come up short in their big moments, while other less heralded athletes like Kawhi Leonard and Russell Wilson took their rightful place in the bright national spotlight. Young guns like Nyjah Huston and Anthony Davis came into their own, while even younger guns like Mo'Ne Davis and Sam Gordon proved that age and gender have little to do with being a great athlete. Plus, shit, Luis Suarez bit a guy!
Now, as we approach the end of the year, we've come to the time when we weigh everyone's accomplishments together for the purpose of figuring out the top competitors in sports. The result: Complex's Best Athletes of 2014. Disagree? Feel free to leave a comment. Or better yet, email us at email@example.com. The best emails might get featured on the site.