SAN DIEGO—(Jan. 15, 2016)—Philip Rivers, the record-setting San Diego Chargers quarterback, and Matt Kemp, the San Diego Padres’ fast-finishing outfielder, topped the list of five Professional Stars of the Year for 2015 as selected by the San Diego Hall of Champions.
Former SDSU All-American Kawhi Leonard, ex-USD standout Kris Bryant and NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson will also be honored at the 70th Salute to the Champions on Tuesday, Feb. 16, at the Town & Country Resort and Convention Center.
The same evening, Heisman Trophy winner and pro football star Ricky Williams, world boxing champion Paul Vaden and baseball standout Dave Roberts will be inducted into the Breitbard Hall of Fame.
Rivers collected his seventh 4,000-yard passing season in eight years in moving into the top five in NFL history as well as passing for 29 TDs.
Kemp was the Padres’ leader with 158 hits, 100 runs batted in and 154 games played as he finished strong, batting.274 with 22 home runs and 74 RBI after the calendar turned to June 1. Kemp also became the first-ever Padres player to hit for the cycle when he did it against the Colorado Rockies on Aug. 14.
Johnson celebrated on Victory Row five times during the NASCAR season and certainly earned the Most Consistent award by placing in the top five 14 times and in the top 10 22 times out of 36 races.
Bryant earned unanimous National League Rookie of the Year honors after batting .275 with a .369 on-base percentage with 26 home runs and 99 RBI in his first season with the Chicago Cubs.
Leonard just keeps getting better and better as he finished up the 2014-15 season with the San Antonio Spurs averaging career highs of 16.5 points and 8.2 rebounds a game. In 2015-16 he has led the Spurs to another strong start with a better than 20-point per game average.