Who, what and where in SoCal will be worthy of our sports attention? – Orange County Register

We’re giving it 100-percent effort to unscientifically gather intel on who, what and where in Southern California will be most worthy of our sports-centric attention this year. Our ultimate goal is to have zero omissions.

Of course, we’ll all get blindsided – a midseason trade, an unscheduled rookie success story, or a Ball family international incident. But even if the cost of sending a simple letter jumps to a half-dollar on Jan. 21, we’re not going to mail this one in.

From the deck we’ve been currently dealt, consider these the 18 people, places and things – some obvious, a few more obscure – we can almost guarantee will have some sort of impact on how you enjoy the 2018 year in sports.


Something to get your head around: Someone born in this century is now old enough to be a U.S. Olympic athlete. The 17-year-old snowboarder, born in Long Beach and going to La Palma Christian School while training at Mammoth Mountain, actually qualified for Team USA to be at the 2014 Winter Games but was barred because of her age. The first woman to ever land back-to-back 1080s (three full revolutions in the air) during competition nearly two years ago now has the chance to represent her country at the Feb. 9-25 Winter Games in South Korea, where her parents are from. “A lot of my relatives over there have never seen me compete before, so I think it’s going to be pretty cool for everyone,” said Kim, on the Time magazine list of the “30 Most Influential Teens of 2017.”


The 67th edition returns to Staples Center on Feb. 18, the sixth to be held in L.A., but delivers a new format – no more West vs. East, but the two players from each conference who have the most votes from the fans/players/media become captains and pick their own rosters from a 22-player pool. Assume LeBron James and Russell Westbrook are making the choices – do they have to pronounce Giannis Antetokounmpo correctly to be able to claim him? It would be tough to imagine this event without a Laker or Clipper involved, but …


Shohei Ohtani waves to fans during a news conference in Sapporo, Japan on Dec. 25. He bid farewell to fans of his former Japanese club Nippon Ham Fighters as he sets off to join his new team, the Angels. (Masanori Takei/Kyodo News via AP)

What if, during an Angels spring training split-squad game in…

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