Kobe Bryant - #19
With each passing year, Kobe Bryant manages to slough off a little bit more of the less-than-savory reputation he's been associated with following the sexual-assault allegations of 2003. His boundless professionalism and undeniable talent have surely played a significant role in his slow-but-steady ascent to the top of his field, with his 2008 accomplishments only cementing his status as one of the key figures in modern basketball. In addition to his gold-medal-winning stint on the United States Men's Basketball Team, Kobe Bryant proved an instrumental force in the Los Angeles Lakers' stellar 2007-2008 season that culminated with a nail-biting six-game series against the Boston Celtics.
2008's Claim to Fame: The NBA's MVP, Kobe Bryant's dedicated effort on the courts during Olympics made him a true role model.