Page 2's Person of the Year
Page 2 staff

Time magazine's "Man of the Year" is a pretty prestigious honor. But then again, Adolf Hitler once won.

Jennie Finch
One of A-Rod's new contract demands is that Jennie Finch be seeded No. 1 in the PCS.
Sports Illustrated's "Sportsman of the Year" is an award for all the good guys out there ... but it can get a little syrupy for our taste.

Entertainment Weekly's "It List" honors the trendy, new-wave of cool. Then again, Page 2's Bill Simmons made the list a couple years ago.

It seems everyone's got a year-end honor they want to trumpet during this part of the calendar, so why should your friends at Page 2 be any different? For 2003, we're announcing the start of our annual Person of the Year award. (Britney Spears and Madonna walked away with our 2003 Couple of the Year competition earlier this week.)

With so many worthy candidates over the last 12 months, however, we were a bit confused about how to narrow down the field. So, of course, we immediately decided to implement a system based on the most fair, most equitable and most respected formula that we could think of.

Obviously, we're talking about the BCS.

So, welcome the PCS (Page 2 Computer Series) as we rank our candidates for Couple of the Year. Below is the final PCS poll for '03 -- based on rankings from the Page 2 computer, the Tabloid computer and Jeff Sagarin's computer. We've also added in "strength-of-schedule" points for Sex Appeal, Fitness, Star Power and Staying Power.

Check out the top eight -- plus our synopsis of each person's "season" -- and then vote in the poll at right to determine the winner.

2003 Person of the Year Rankings
Person P2 Tabs Sag. Sex Fit Star Stay Total
1. LeBron James 4 3 1 4 1 2 1 2.286
1. Jennie Finch 1 4 2 1 2 4 2 2.286
3. Bennifer 2 1 7 2 3 1 3 2.714
4. Paris Hilton 3 2 8 3 8 3 6 4.714
5. Randall Simon 5 6 5 5 6 7 5 5.571
5. Warren Sapp 8 5 4 8 5 5 4 5.571
7. Seabiscuit 6 7 3 7 4 6 7 5.714
8. Grady Little 7 8 6 6 7 8 8 7.142
Also receiving votes: Annika Sorenstam, Christina Aguilera, Keira Knightley, Michael Jackson, Joe Horn, Steve Bartman, Sammy Sosa, Terrell Owens, Ricky Davis, Clay Aiken, Maurice Clarett
Legend: P2: Page 2 computer; Tabs: Average rankings from US Weekly, People, National Enquirer and Star; Sag: Jeff Sagarin; Sex: Sex appeal; Fit: Fitness factor; Star: Total star power; Stay: Staying power.

1 (tie). LeBron James
LeBron James
LeBron James should be a regular in the Person of the Year competition.
Season: Not bad for a guy who started the year racing to home room -- even if he was racing there in a Hummer. The LeBron Phenomenon sold out high school games, all-star games, and even got more than 19,000 folks to show up for a Hawks game of their own free will. Already a familiar face to even casual sports fans thanks to numerous endorsement gigs and public appearances, James suffers in these rankings only by dint of not being female and hot. It could be years before the Cavs contend for a title, but LeBron appears destined for a long run atop Page 2's rankings, especially if he finds himself the subject of any embarrassing tabloid rumors -- or gets traded to Portland.

James' comment: I've been compared to Michael Jordan, but beating a dead horse, a fired manager and something called "Bennifer" really makes my year complete.

1 (tie). Jennie Finch
Season: Let's be clear about this: Finch is more than a (very) pretty face, and that's why we love her at Page 2. Really, we're not that shallow. The blonde bombshell continued her softball dominance, helping lead the United States to gold at the Pan Am Games -- striking out 15 Cubans in a semifinal victory -- and earning a place on the team headed to Athens in 2004. Finch also expanded her public persona with a stint in the booth for the Women's College World Series, numerous photo spreads and host duties on "This Week in Baseball" -- just ask Richie Sexson about her rise ball. Page 2 readers echo our fascination, voting Finch "Hottest Female Athlete" and winner of the Wacky Bracket. On the down side, she also got married this year.

Finch's comment: Wasn't this sort of thing covered in the restraining order?

3. Bennifer
Ben and J-lo
We couldn't escape Bennifer in 2003.
Season: There is no way to avoid treating Bennifer as a single entity. Kind of like the Holy Ghost. Bennifer can divide into its component parts for certain occasions -- like trips to Canadian strip clubs -- but it remains joined together in spirit and media coverage. Which is where "Gigli" comes in. For all the paparazzi photos, Fenway appearances and wedding planning, Bennifer's year was defined by the colossal flop of its first movie effort. And while the resulting jokes and attention actually helped raise Bennifer's public profile, the computer's harsh honesty is inescapable. In other words, we had to watch that piece of trash, so there's no way in the world we're letting them win. And yes, this is the same that happened to USC after the Cal game.

Bennifer's comment: All we have to say is that Matt Damon is one cute guy. You figure it out.

4. Paris Hilton
Season: Hilton definitely answered critics who claimed the hotel heiress was famous for doing nothing. After entering the rankings on the heels of news that she and Chicago linebacker Brian Urlacher were an item -- earning bonus points for sitting through an entire Bears game -- the spindly socialite showed the world a new side with a spin in front of the camera ... in Fox's critically unacclaimed "Simple Life" reality show. Oh, and there was also something about a home movie with Rick Salomon. Like a football team with a leaky defense, Hilton couldn't overcome the facts that she lacks talent and makes Calista Flockhart look like Star Jones, but that video nearly put her on top, so to speak.

Hilton's comment: I'd like to let my body of work speak for itself in this time of great personal stress. Unfortunately, I have only my body. But I find great comfort in that one universal truth: I'm rich and you're not.

5 (tie). Randall Simon
Season: The veteran first baseman played well after a midseason trade to Chicago, helping the Cubs to the playoffs and hitting .333 with six RBIs in 10 postseason games. But let's talk about the Italian Sausage. While still a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Simon gained instant notoriety by clubbing -- all right, tapping -- one of Milwaukee's sausage mascots in the back of the head during the mascot race on July 9. Charges were discussed and Simon was grilled incessantly about the incident before things eventually simmered down. Unfortunately for his chances of winning Person of the Year, Simon probably came out of the incident less well known than the mascot meat. Simon eventually paid $432 to close the case, which Yankees fans will soon recognize as the standard price of a sausage at Yankee Stadium.

Paris Hilton
Paris Hilton made a stunning late-season surge.
Simon's comment: The people at PETA told me it would be a bold statement for animal rights, but where were they when the sausage hit the fan?

5 (tie). Warren Sapp
Season: Aside from winning a Super Bowl, calling the NFL "slavemasters" and making a butt of himself with the worst dancing since the Super Bowl Shuffle, it was a quiet year for Sapp. But for all the controversy (skipping through the opposing team during pregame warmups) and confrontation (a running feud with Washington linebacker Lavar Arrington), Sapp never captured the public's full attention with one defining moment of fame or infamy. Instead, he was a mosquito, generally annoying but rarely fatal. A very loud and portly mosquito with a tendency for landing on SportsCenter, but a mosquito nonetheless.

Sapp's comment: I'd like to dedicate this honor to my friend and brother, Keyshawn Johnson. This just isn't the same team without his quiet leadership.

7. Seabiscuit
Season: The Seabiscuit phenomenon began with Laura Hillenbrand's book in 2001, but who reads anymore? Things really hit he mainstream in 2003 with the release of the big-screen adaptation of the story, starring Toby Maguire (but not as Seabiscuit). Suddenly, the story of the plucky horse that didn't look like much was everywhere you turned. But there is no Hollywood ending to these rankings. Voters can overlook a lot of transgressions when voting for a champion, but in the end, Seabiscuit couldn't overcome the indisputable facts that he was a horse and he's dead. Other than that, he was a perfect fit for 2003 Person of the Year.

Seabiscuit's comment: Who do I look like, Mr. Ed? And couldn't they have gotten one of those good looking horses from Lord of the Rings to play me? At least ESPN did put my pal, Secretariat, on its Top 50 Athletes of All Time -- although I'm sure Kornheiser will complain about this again.

8. Grady Little
Season: It's fitting that Little finishes in eighth, the same place his career in Boston unraveled. After leading the Red Sox to their most wins since 1986 -- note the foreshadowing -- Little was six outs from the World Series when he decided to send Pedro Martinez back out for the eighth inning of Game 7 against the Yankees. And he didn't change his mind until after Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Hideki Matsui and Jorge Posada had ripped off consecutive hits to tie the score. Little immediately became the most reviled man in New England, and that made him a Page 2 favorite. But without something like a scandal involving Soot Zimmer, there's just no way Little's infamy earns him Person of the Year honors.

Little's comment: Byung Hyun-Kim will be signing my remarks for the hearing impaired.


Page 2's Couple of the Year

Page 2's favorite things

The List: Worst moves of 2003

The List: Best moves of 2003

Murphy: Tiger's wedding plans

Britney: Strike her from Page 2?

What were Britney and Madonna thinking?

Neel: Couple of the Ages

Hays: Anna's heartbreak

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