It’s that most wonderful time of the year again when we here at SCMP Sport collate 12 months of web traffic reports to put together a list of the top stories of the year – at least in terms of cold hard traffic numbers. Despite losing a large number of our local events in 2019 (for reasons beyond sport ), it was still an eventful year for its sport reporters, normally for funny reasons, often for reasons involving our big misbehaving northern neighbour and occasionally for very sad reasons. The list of stories is ranked in terms of page views and stories had to have been published in 2019 to be included. Here is a descending list from number 10 of the most-clicked SCMP Sport stories of 2019. Here’s to many more clicks in 2020. 10. Hong Kong Jockey Club cancels Happy Valley race meeting over threat of anti-government protests This list kicks off with the story of a historic Happy Valley race meeting: one that was cancelled at a few hours’ notice due to the threat of anti-government protests, a topic that figured highly for SCMP Sport this year, affecting the meeting. The worry centred on controversial politician Junius Ho Kwan-yiu and his horse Hong Kong Bet. There were suggestions that protesters could gain entry to the course and disrupt the running of Ho’s horse. In the end, the Hong Kong Jockey Club decided to get out ahead of a potentially damaging (and costly) flashpoint and called the meeting off after Ho refused to withdraw his horse from action that night, marking the first time political and civil unrest had forced a race meeting cancellation in Hong Kong. 9. NBA boss Adam Silver says Chinese government asked him to fire Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey Next up is one of the aforementioned stories involving the mainland and more specifically when they’ve made some manner of questionable choice. One such decision was its (over) reaction to a single tweet from a solitary NBA coach. The fall-out made headlines all over the world, and has made many sporting bodies terrified to cross China . In this particular story, NBA chief Adam Silver revealed he had been asked by the Chinese government to fire Houston Rockets manager Daryl Morey (he of the overactive Twitter account). 8. Why we should not watch Floyd Mayweather fight again, even with added spice of UFC’s Dana White Number eight in our rundown is the only opinion piece on this year’s list in which Patrick Blennerhassett aimed a missive at Floyd Mayweather regarding his teasing of a return to action. The piece centres around Mayweather’s incessant hinting of a big-money return to the ring (or Octagon). Incidentally, a “Money-related” opine occupied a similar berth in last year’s top 10 list. It’s proof, perhaps, that for as long as Mayweather keeps offering up pieces of himself to a hungry media, folks will keep on lapping it up, and we’ll be forced to keep taking umbrage at it. 7. Security guard stops Jeremy Lin from boarding bus in Milwaukee … but he’s delighted Raptors are in NBA Finals For obvious reasons, Jeremy Lin was a huge figure in Chinese sport in 2019. Becoming ( debatably ) the first Asian to win an NBA title would probably have been enough for him to be considered the Chinese sporting personality of the year. But add to that a triumphant return to his roots and a mega-money contract with Chinese Basketball Association outfit the Beijing Ducks, and you have the Chinese sport story of 2019. This particular story reported how the basketball ace was stopped from boarding a team bus in the US shortly after he became an NBA champion. Something that would never happen to him in China. 6. The runner with the runs: Chinese athlete suffers diarrhoea nightmare at Shanghai half-marathon If compiling these lists over a few years has taught me anything, it’s that sex and s*** sells. Stories of personal humiliation just titillate more than most, it’s as simple as that, sadly. We shouldn’t feel too bad about it, it’s in our nature. Our piece on a pooey Chinese runner defying diarrhoea to scramble six kilometres at the Shanghai international half marathon, and win his category, had all the ingredients you need for a viral story. 5. Sun Yang rants ‘you loser, I’m winning’ at Duncan Scott after British swimmer snubs him on podium There was only one man who could have run Jeremy Lin close for the title of Chinese sporting personality in 2019, and it was for very different reasons in spite of another successful campaign. Arguably China’s greatest athlete, certainly its most-decorated Olympian, Sun Yang endured another year of punishing headlines , at least outside of China. Whether you think he deserves it or not, the reaction at the Fina world swimming championships in July may have gone a tad too far when competitors refused to shake hands or take the podium with him after his latest gold medal success. In this particular incident, Sun had had enough and lashed out at one rival making massive headlines in the process. 4. NBA superstar James Harden stopped by traffic police in Shanghai and has bike confiscated on China promotional tour It was quite an eventful year for the NBA in China. Perhaps the events of June were an omen of things to come when one of the organisation’s superstars, James Harden, was censured by traffic police in Shanghai for contravening traffic laws. The Houston Rockets point guard, one of the most recognisable sportsmen in the US and by extension China, was pictured receiving a ticking-off after allegedly riding a battery-powered scooter without a helmet. Reports suggested the scooter was confiscated before Harden publicly apologised for “violating traffic rules” . 3. Youthful Malaysia minister Syed Saddiq uses world-class debating skills to silence critics of Israel athlete ban To Malaysia for the next story on our list involving a 26-year-old government minister by the name of Syed Saddiq. The three-time Asian debating champion became an online sensation when the youngster appeared on a BBC current affairs show debating his country’s ban on Israeli athletes. The issue stemmed from the Malaysian government’s refusal to issue travel visas to Israeli athletes wanting to compete in the World Para Swimming Championships in Sarawak in July. The International Paralympic Committee later stripped Malaysia of hosting rights, but Saddiq came out swinging in defence of his government’s decision. 2. Jeremy Lin becomes the first Asian-American to win an NBA championship as Raptors take game six At least in terms of the highly sought after title of “SCMP Sport personality of the year”, a second spot on our top 10 list removes any doubt that Jeremy Lin came out on top. Our second biggest story of 2019 relates to his storybook triumph with the Toronto Raptors earlier in the year when they claimed a first NBA championship. Lin has struggled in the intervening years since 2012 when “Linsanity” gripped America. In a career ravaged by injury, he has bounced itinerantly from coast to coast and franchise to franchise. A thoroughly nice bloke by anyone’s measure, it’s no surprise that people (mostly in Asia, for obvious reasons) were delighted for the 31-year-old when he finally reached the pinnacle of a basketballer’s career by landing an NBA championship (regardless of how little he actually helped in the end). It was to be the high point of the year for the Taiwanese-American as this giddy high was soon followed by a crushing low when he failed to be picked up by any franchise during free agency, which paved the way for that headline-grabbing switch to the CBA and Beijing. 1. Kenneth To, record-breaking Hong Kong swimmer, dies aged 26 in Florida – ‘a huge loss to local sports’ It was also a year of great loss for the Hong Kong sporting community when it lost two promising young athletes, Kenneth To King-him and Poon Ching-chiu, in a matter of months. To’s sudden death occurred while he was undertaking a training camp in the US ahead of the Fina world swimming championships. The 26-year-old was transported to hospital after collapsing in the locker room following a session and died later that night. There was an immediate outpouring of shock and grief for one of Hong Kong’s brightest young athletes.