oprah & own logo*It’s that time of year again – the time when we sit down to gorge on leftovers, soak up hours and hours of football, and make a serious gift-buying dent in our wallet. All very wonderful things, right

Oh, and it’s also time to give thanks. To sit back, reflect and be grateful for all those personalities out there who have made 2013 so memorable for the better. Oh, and don’t worry. For all of those ones on the other side of the coin? They’ll be covered in our “turkeys” column. Feel free to cover those ones in gravy.

  • *Tim Duncan and LeBron James, for giving us one of the truly great NBA Finals in recent memory. If that’s the last shining moment for the aging warhorse Duncan, there’s absolutely no shame in dropping a finals to the transcendent James. What a series for these two icons.
  • *Cory Booker, for the start of a great political career. The newest senator from the Garden State has the intelligence and clout to be the next great African-American political figure, as Barack wraps up his second term. Let’s just hope he’s up to the task.
  • *Steve McQueen and Chiwetel Ejiofor, for giving us the best picture of the year in Twelve Years a Slave. Let’s hope this is the start of a fabulous, Scorsese / DeNiro like partnership for years to come – and let’s also hope they’re recognized by the Academy come Oscar time.
  • *Calvin Johnson, for making Lions football actually watchable again, and giving us the best amalgam of Jerry Rice and Randy Moss we’ll ever see on the football field. Peyton Manning might win the MVP this season … but it’s really hard for any of us to see how Megatron isn’t the true MVP of the league this year.
  • *Oprah Winfrey, for turning the O network into something watchable – a true feat – and giving us a sterling supporting turn in The Butler. She could cap off her 2013 with her first Oscar, filling out one heck of a layered career.