When Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant were selected co-MVP of the… (Ross D. Franklin, Associated…)
A journey through the year in sports using some of the best, some
of the worst, and some of the most memorable quotes of the year:
"I'm telling you right now, it's going to be hard to say goodbye to this place. I don't think I can do it." USC quarterback Mark Sanchez, when asked if he was going to turn pro after Trojans' 38-24 Rose Bowl game victory over Penn State.
"It is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to this university." Sanchez, announcing his decision to turn pro two weeks after the Rose Bowl.
"Mark is going against the grain in this decision, we know that, he knows that." USC Coach Pete Carroll, on Sanchez's decision.
"If that's the biggest burden I have to bear in my life, I'll be a pretty lucky guy." Oklahoma Coach Bob Stoops after losing to Florida, 24-14, in the BCS title game.
"It's always a home game at the Super Bowl with Steeler Nation, baby. Always." Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Bruce Arians after the Steelers defeated Arizona, 27-23, in the Super Bowl in front of mainly Steelers fans in Tampa, Fla.
"The Big Legendaries," Shaquille O'Neal while putting his arm around Kobe Bryant after they were named co-All-Star game MVPs.
"Los Angeles has been a wonderful experience. But at Milan I have found great players who have been of great help to me." David Beckham, saying he'd rather stay with AC Milan than come back to the Galaxy.
"It was a bad economy, and I got a great contract. I won," Manny Ramirez, after signing a two-year, $45-million deal to remain with the Dodgers after lengthy negotiations.
"Why did I sign with the Nationals? When you go to a club at 4 in the morning, and you're just waiting, waiting, a 600-pounder looks like J. Lo. And to me this is Jennifer Lopez right here. It's 4 in the morning. Too much to drink. So, Nationals: Jennifer Lopez to me." Pitcher Julian Tavarez, on why he signed with the always bad Washington Nationals when other teams were interested in him after a good performance for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.
"You better come here, because something special is going to happen," Nick Adenhart to his father, Jim, just days before Adenhart made his first start of the season for the Angels.
"This is the real deal. That's why you've got to kiss your kids, kiss your family every day when you get up in the morning and before you leave for work." Angels center fielder Torii Hunter, after composing himself after learning of the death of Adenhart in a car accident after he had pitched six scoreless innings in his season debut.
"I can thank Manny Pacquiao for what he did to me. He showed me it was over." Oscar De La Hoya, announcing his retirement four months after losing to Pacquiao by TKO in his final fight.
"[The doctor] gave me a medication, not a steroid, which he thought was OK to give me. Unfortunately, the medication was banned under our drug policy. Under the policy, that mistake is now my responsibility. I have been advised not to say anything more for now." Manny Ramirez, in a news release the day he was suspended for 50 games.
"We all know who the real No. 1 is. Quite frankly, I'm the best in the world." Serena Williams after Dinara Safina moved into the top spot of the women's tennis rankings.
"I believe it was a very hard punch. My hand still hurts." Manny Pacquiao after knocking out Ricky Hatton in the second round of their IBO light-welterweight bout in May
"I don't have to hear that idiotic criticism anymore. That's the biggest thing. I don't have to hear that stuff anymore. Now when I go to Disney World and Disneyland, I can enjoy the moment. I don't have to answer questions about, 'What the hell happened to you guys?' " Kobe Bryant, after winning the NBA title, on criticism he couldn't win it without Shaquille O'Neal.
"The great players cost a lot of money, and if you want them you have to pay it. I'm happy to be the most expensive player in the world." Cristiano Ronaldo modestly reflecting on his $130-million transfer to Real Madrid.
"Does the fact that he earns that much money come into it? Yeah. If someone's paying you more than anybody in the league, more than double anybody in the league, the least we expect is that you show up to every game, whether you're suspended or not. Show up and train hard. Show up and play hard." Landon Donovan on Galaxy teammate David Beckham in the book "The Beckham Experiment."
"He is a great rider, but it is another thing on a personal level, where I have never had great admiration for him and I never will." Tour de France winner Alberto Contador revealing his dislike of teammate Lance Armstrong.
"If I could, I would take this . . . ball and shove it down your . . . throat." Serena Williams' rant at a U.S. Open line judge, which led to her losing a point and defaulting her match.