I'll be honest with you, when they asked me to pick the Top 5 Bros of the Year I responded by email saying, "You can eat a hemorrhoid fresh off my a**hole if you think I'm doing that. I'm checked out for the year. Tell someone else to write it." Well, apparently Eskimo Bro (who I handed this column off to) is on a masturbatory bender, so I am stuck doing it. I gave it my best shot too. But something tells me someone will complain that I left Tiger Woods off this list. He is a huge Bro, yes, but you gotta do something more impressive than just getting a divorce and losing all but two of your sponsors if you want this pedestal. You know what I mean?
Two weeks ago we polled you, our readers, to see who you thought should be our Bro of the Year. Responses varied, but a few names stuck out. We took all that into consideration, and then we looked back on the year as a whole, since we tend to forget things that happened in January. It's hard to name just five people. So what we decided to do was make a few categories and crown a Bro for each. We also included a bunch of Honorable Mentions at the end, but add your own nominations in the comments.
Athlete Bro of the Year
Save for Tiger's mortality, has there been a more compelling or talked-about story (regarding an athlete) in sports all year? Vick rode the pine last year and expected to ride it again this year, until he got his shot when Kevin Kolb went down in the first game of the season. Every so-called expert said his career was over when he went to jail, they said he'd never come back and play at the level he was playing at. And they were right: he isn't the same Mick Vick that we knew three years ago. He's better -- and he's not even killing dogs anymore. His lasers are more accurate now, his feet are still lethal, and he is a leading MVP candidate. Sure, none of this makes up for him waterboarding dogs or spreading herpes, but his redemption on and off the field is remarkable.
Criminal Bro of the Year
Colton Harris-Moore aka "The Barefoot Bandit"
Playing cat and mouse with the authorities almost never works (except in Bin Laden's case, that wily motherf*cker), but Colton was able to commit small, semi-harmless crimes (if his victims had insurance), like stealing boats and planes, for several years without getting caught. To his and our dismay, the Bahamanian police finally nabbed him earlier this year and he will deservedly spend the rest of his formative years taking it in the ass behind bars. Minus the whole part about going to jail for 20 years and the gay prison rape, the "Catch Me If You Can" part of his story is pretty awesome.
Comeback/Feel Good Bro of the Year
The 2008 ACC Defensive Player of the Year returned to the field this season after spending the entire 2009 season battling a rare form of bone cancer. As he endured the rigors of chemotherapy, Herzlich continued to lift weights and study game film confident that he would overcome the disease in time for 2010's kickoff. In an interview last year, the BC backer said, "I really want to come back next year and pick up where I left off." And he did. That's a man of his word.
Entertainment Bro of the Year
In March, Bridges finally took home his first Oscar for his leading role in "Crazy Heart." To his cult-like "Big Lebowski" fans, this award was a long time coming. Bridges currently has two of this winter's most talked about movies, "Tron: Legacy" and "True Grit." I haven't seen either, but if his portrayal of Rooster Cogburn is half as good as it looks I can finally forget about how disappointed I was with "Men Who Stare at Goats." But even if it sucks the fattest dick, he would still be the Dude... and they guy who wants me to buy a Hyundai Sonata. And that's enough for me.
Heroic Bro of the Year
Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta
Giunta's combat heroism in Afghanistan may have taken place in 2007 but this year he became the first living recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War. Over the last decade, the leaders of our country may have caused our military to make some questionable moves and deployments, but Giunta exemplifies everything that is right about our service men and women. His unselfishness, patriotism, and courage under extreme circ*mstances are astonishing, and perhaps only trumped by the humility in which he accepted the Medal of Honor with. To Giunta, he was just doing his job, just like any other soldier would. To us, he is a hero. If you are not familiar with Giunta's story, read this article, and watch the movie "Restrepo," which covers Giunta's Afghan unit.
Jerry Rice: Crowned greatest player in NFL history.
Michael Douglas: Resurrected Gordon Gekko as he battled cancer.
Brian Wilson: For his outstanding beard and closing skills in the World Series.
Isaiah Mustafa: The Old Spice Guy did some work this year. Good for him.
Tucker Max: Even though his movie bombed, "Assholes Finish First" debuted at #3 on the New York Times Best Seller List, proving that a**holes might only finish as high as third.
Jim Rawlinson: Got attacked by a shark, rode on its back to safety, then went surfing inn the same infested waters for another hour.
Justin Halpern: He gave us "Shit My Dad Says," although who can remember direct quotes from when they were three years old?
Drew Brees: He brought the Saints out of obscurity to win the Super Bowl and in doing so, he snatched the ESPN's and SI's Athlete of the Year awards (yea, we went a different way, but Brees is a boss.)
Kobe Bryant: The guy has five rings, two of them without Shaq, and unlike LeBron, he did it without having to compromise his own legacy.
Chilean Miners: I still say f*ck these guys. But someone wanted them on the list.
Ryan Miller: For almost willing the U.S. hockey team to Olympic Gold.
Graeme McDowell: He won the U.S Open, sunk the winning putt in the Ryder Cup, and dropped a putt twice in a row to end Tiger Woods' season without a victory.
The Smoking Baby: Before he finally quit — a move that probably saved his life — this little Indonesian was poised to be the next Marlboro Man.
Mark Haines: For having the balls to say "and this is why women aren't in charge of sports" on live TV (and shouting out his Bro of the Week honor).
Michael Jordan: His Airness not only gave the most self-serving Hall of Fame induction speech ever but he also taught his children how to piss away a year's salary in one night.
The nameless guy who invented the beer-spitting mini fridge run by an iPhone app: Because you don't always have a pledge or a woman handy.
All the fallen Bros: Dennis Hopper, John Wooden, John Forsythe, George Steinbrenner, Bob Guccione, Boner Stabone, etc.