Jermain Defoe could land Sports Personality Award for being Bradley Lowery's 'best friend'
Former Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe is among one bookies' favourites to appear on the shortlist for the Sports Personality of the Year award.
Defoe, who now plays for Bournemouth, is 16/1 at Ladbrokes to appear on the shortlist for the BBC award, which is set to be announced at the end of November.
The 35-year-old footballer was the best player in a bad Sunderland side last season, scoring 15 league goals and netting an England squad recall for the first time in three years.
His heartwarming friendship with six-year-old Bradley Lowery, from Blackhall, touched hearts across the globe, which Defoe describing the little boy, who died from neuroblastoma cancer in July, as his "best friend".
The pair led England onto the pitch at Wembley in March, with Bradley also appearing as a mascot for his beloved Sunderland AFC numerous times throughout last season.
As little Bradley's condition worsened, Defoe spent precious moments with Bradley and his family, making memories they could treasure for years to come.
He was last month announced as a patron for the Bradley Lowery Foundation, a charity set up in memory of the little fighter, which will work towards helping other sick children.
Here are some of Ladbrokes' other favourites for next month's shortlist announcement.
Anthony Joshua (1/3)
If this was a prize for the best single performance by a British star in the last 12 months, it is no contest - the 27-year-old heavyweight's victory over Wladimir Klitschko in April was an absolute belter. Joshua was not quite as impressive in October against Frenchman Carlos Takam but still defended his IBF and WBA titles. Sports fans have taken the former Olympic champion to their hearts and he looks in great shape to add a SPOTY honour to his collection.
Lewis Hamilton (9/1)
Formula One world champion for a fourth time, Hamilton is just 32 and could have many more titles left in him. He overtook Sebastian Vettel in the second half of the season to clinch his latest triumph with two races to spare. Again he is an outstanding candidate for the Sports Personality award that he won in 2014.
Chris Froome (10/1)
The first man to follow up a win at the Tour de France with a victory in the Spanish equivalent in the same season, the 32-year-old is now, by any fair measure, one of cycling's greats. Since the start of July, he has raced more than 4,000 miles, over 42 days, and has seen off every challenge. For many, he should win this race by miles, too, but a previous SPOTY best of sixth suggests Froome has not yet conquered the heights of popular acclaim here. Could this be his breakthrough year?
Sir Mo Farah (16/1)
Farah had won nine straight global track finals since 2011, so arguably his return of a gold and a silver at the World Championships in London in the summer was a disappointment. But that would be very unfair. Britain's only individual medallist, Farah won one thriller and narrowly lost another. The 34-year-old is now aiming for marathon glory and has just won his fourth straight Great North Run. Like Froome, the Somalia-born star probably has not had the credit he deserves in the BBC poll. A best of third, in 2011, does not really reflect his domination in one of sport's most accessible disciplines