For sports enthusiasts, 2024 is shaping up to be a year full of surprises across the board. While the major American sports (football, baseball, and basketball) will no doubt bring us must-see moments, 2024 is also an Olympic year with games being held in Paris which will have the world’s undivided attention. Whatever your sport of choice is, you don’t want to miss out on some phenomenal athletes who might be under the radar. But 2024 is the year when their exploits will make them household names.
To get you ready for the New Year, we at BET.com came up with 10 Top Players To Watch In 2024.
While the NBA has many stars who are household names, Gilgeous-Alexander is one the emerging stars of the league who is on the brink of superstardom. The Canada native has led the Oklahoma Thunder to second place in the Western Conference standings with a 16-8 record. Filling up the stat shoot, SGA is averaging 30.7 points per game, 6.4 assists, and 5.5 rebounds. As an early MVP candidate,
In addition to Simone Biles, the USA Women’s Gymnastics team also boasts the talents of Chiles, a superstar in the making. In the 2020 Summer Olympics, she won a silver medal in the team event and won gold at the 2022 World Championships. Individually, she was the 2022 World Championships vault silver medalist and floor silver medalist at the and has been a member of the United States women's national gymnastics team since 2013.
After withdrawing from the 2023 World Athletics Championships to recover from a knee injury, all eyes will be on McLaughlin-Levrone who has been the most dominant hurdler in the world. A decorated sprinter, she is the 2020 Tokyo Olympic champion with the Games record and the 2022 World champion with a world record time of 50.68 seconds in the 400m hurdles. At the 2024 Summer Olympics, McLaughlin-Levrone is the favorite to retain her title as the fastest hurdler in the world.
After a 25-game suspension for being caught flashing a gun on a social media livestream, the Memphis Grizzlies star point guard is scheduled to make his return to court on Dec. 19. As one would imagine, the Grizzlies have struggled all season with Morant in the lineup. Before being caught twice brandishing guns,
Morant was viewed as one of the American faces of the NBA. He lost his endorsement deal with Powerade and many believe that his actions left him off the All-NBA teams which cost him almost $40 M in potential. For Morant, 2024 will be a year of redemption or his career will be ruined by his own doing.
Naomi Osaka- Following a 15-month hiatus from active competition, four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka is set to make her long-awaited return to the court. During her time away from the game, Osaka launched her own sports agency, a clothing line, and had a baby with rapper Cordae. Osaka will make her comeback at the Brisbane International, ahead of the Australian Open, which takes place at Melbourne Park from Jan. 14-28.
On and off the court, LSU star Angel Resse is the biggest star in college basketball. The “Bayou Barbie” led the Lady Tigers to the 2023 national championship and she was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Tournament. For her efforts, Reese earns a reported $1.7 million a year. Although she missed four games in a row to take care of her mental health, Reese will garner the attention of the basketball world as she attempts to lead LSU to another title.
Sha’ Carri Richardson
After witnessing Jamaican women dominate the last several Olympic games in almost every race, Richardson is one of the favorites to bring home a gold medal for the USA. In 2023, Richardson pressed her Jamaican rivals Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and Shericka Jackson for global sprinting supremacy.
While competing in the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, she won the women's 100m final in an astounding 10.65 seconds for her first-ever international title, won the bronze in the 200m, and 4x100m gold as the anchor. At this rate, Richarsons is posied to be an Olympic gold medalist in Paris and would be the first American women to capture the gold since
Since leading the Phoenix Mercury to back-to-back WNBA championships, Wilson is arguably the best player in the league. After coming in second place in a hotly contested MVP race, Wilson played her best when the games mattered the most in the playoffs. Wilson averaged 23.8 points and 11.8 rebounds per game in the 2023 WNBA Finals.
Following the Aces defeat of the New York Liberty, she was awarded her first Finals MVP.In 2024, Wilson and the Aces will be fighting for their third championship in a row, which is hasn’t been accomplished since the Houson Comets won their fourth straight championship in 2000.
This history of professional golf cannot be written without the significant contributions of Woods. In his illustrious career, Woods has won 15 professional major golf championships, trailing only Jack Nicklaus, who leads with 18) and 82 PGA Tour events which ties him for first all-time with Sam Snead. Suffering from severe injuries to his back and lower extremities had greatly delayed Woods’ chance at breaking Nichlaus’s record. In 2024.
Following an eighth-place finish at the Hero World Challenge and tieing for fifth place at the PNC Championship with his son Charlie as his partner, Woods may just be to return to the winner’s circle in 2024.
USA Men's Basketball Team
Despite their best efforts, the U.S. Men’s Basketball team failed to medal in its second consecutive World Cup. This has not happened to the program since 1970. But, marshaling their best players for the 2024 Summer Games in Paris, LeBron James, Joel Embiid, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Jayson Tatum, and Damian Lillard are among the NBA stars who have expressed interest in bringing home the gold for the USA.
While it remains to be seen who will be on the team next year, some of the NBA’s best American players will be representing their country to ensure consecutive Olympic gold wins.
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