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A fourth MVP and a 15th major - LeBron & Tiger's birthday wishlists

By Opta
LeBron James and Tiger Woods

Los Angeles, December 31: LeBron James and Tiger Woods each had reason to celebrate on Sunday.

Two of the sporting world's biggest stars share a birthday on December 30, Lakers star James turning 34 with 14-time major champion Woods 11 years older.

But what will the duo be wishing for when they cut their respective cakes?

Here we look at what should be on their wishlists for the next year.

LeBron James

An end to the MVP wait

It is remarkable given his consistently incredible play that James has not won an NBA MVP award since 2013. That speaks volumes about the amount of superstars in the league, with Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook and James Harden all having won the award since LeBron last did. He may only be fifth in points per game this season but, if James inspires a young Lakers team to one of the top seeds in the Western Conference, he will have an extremely good case to win his fourth MVP prize.

A superstar running mate

Though they have an exciting young core comprised of the likes of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma, the Lakers lack the firepower to be true contenders in the West and James would surely dearly love to find a superstar running mate to attack the Golden State Warriors with next season. Current Warrior Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard are both set for free agency in 2019, while Anthony Davis could be the target of a blockbuster trade.

A Larry O'Brien trophy

LeBron cemented his legacy in Cleveland by leading them back from a 3-1 Finals deficit to the Warriors to win the 2016 NBA title, and would do the same in Los Angeles by bringing the Larry O'Brien trophy back to one of the league's most storied franchises. It seems unlikely that James will be able to achieve that feat in 2019, but he has pulled off the seemingly impossible before.


Tiger Woods

An injury-free year

With his well-documented back problems seemingly behind him, Woods steadily improved in 2018 but will be wary of taking anything for granted having endured years in the wilderness with his physical struggles. Staying fit must be top of Woods' wishlist for his 44th year.

A 15th major

Woods was twice in contention to end his long wait for a 15th major in 2018 but failed to get over the line at The Open and the US PGA Championship. Time is running out for Woods to break Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 majors but, after a 2018 that delivered plenty of promise, he can afford to have hope of cutting the gap in 2019.

A number one ranking

Woods last topped the world rankings in May 2014. Now ranked 13th, a return to the summit appears an ambitious target given the queue of younger and more consistent golfers ahead of him. Yet if Woods does stay healthy and starts stringing performances together, it is not out of the question he could find himself at the top of the game once more.

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    Story first published: Monday, December 31, 2018, 1:00 [IST]
    Other articles published on Dec 31, 2018
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