National Football League (NFL) star quarterback Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints and Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) star Diana Taurasi were named Male and Female Athletes of the Month for September by the United States Sports Academy.
Brees led the Saints to their 4-0 start, including three wins during the month of September when he was the NFL’s leading passer (118.1 rating). He threw for 358 yards and six touchdowns in the season-opening 45-27 win over the Detroit Lions, and was 25-for-34 for 311 yards and three TDs in the Saints’ 48-22 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Brees finished the month 67-for-97 for 841 yards and nine TD passes in three games.
Taurasi, of the Phoenix Mercury, won the WNBA’s 2009 Most Valuable Player award as she led her team to the Finals against the Indiana Fever. Taurasi averaged a league-leading 20.4 points per game in the regular season and has averaged more than 23 in the playoffs. The MVP award was her first in six years in the league. She scored 30 points in the deciding game of the first-round series against San Antonio and 28 in a conference finals contest against Los Angeles.
Finishing second in the balloting were golfer Tiger Woods and tennis player Kim Clijsters. Woods won the BMW Championship by eight shots to secure the No. 1 seed in the FedEx Cup Championship earlier in the month, then finished second at the PGA Tour Championship to win $10 million and the season-long FedEx Cup. Clijsters, of Belgium, was unseeded when she beat No. 9 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark to win the U.S. Open, her third tournament after returning from a retirement of more than two years. She also became the first mother to win the Open in the modern era.
Finishing third on the men’s side was Floyd Mayweather, who returned to boxing after a two-year layoff and beat two-division champion Juan Manuel Marquez in a non-title welterweight matchup. Another WNBA player, Tamika Catchings, was third in the balloting after winning the WNBA Defensive Player of the Year award and leading her Indiana team to the WNBA Finals.