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Rick Zamperin: Pavin Smith wins Christmas

Arizona Diamondbacks prospect Pavin Smith gave his parents a remarkable Christmas gift to remember.
Arizona Diamondbacks prospect Pavin Smith gave his parents a remarkable Christmas gift to remember. @PavinSmith/Twitter

There has been a handful of really amazing sports stories this holiday season.

Is there anyone playing better basketball than Toronto Raptors star DeMar DeRozan?

DeRozan has been named the NBA’s Eastern Conference player of the week for the seventh time in his career after he averaged 34 points, 4.3 assists and four rebounds as Toronto went 3-0.

He also scored a career-high 45 points in the Raps’ wild comeback win over Philadelphia last Thursday.

READ MORE: Toronto Maple Leafs celebrate 100th anniversary

Auston Matthews returned to the Maple Leafs lineup on Saturday night to lead Toronto to a 3-2 victory over the Rangers in New York.

The Leafs phenom looked like his usual spectatular self after sitting out six games because of a concussion he suffered on Dec. 9, scoring the winning goal and adding an assist to boot as Toronto entered the NHL’s Christmas break on a high note.

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There was some sorrow over the holidays as well, however.

Hall of Fame goalie Johnny Bower passed away Tuesday at age 93.  The beloved netminder backstopped the Maple Leafs to four Stanley Cups in the 1960s.

READ MORE: Johnny Bower dead: Legendary Maple Leafs goalie dies at 93

My favourite story from this holiday season came from Arizona Diamondbacks draft pick Pavin Smith.

After receiving a $5-million signing bonus from the team, the seventh-overall pick gave his parents a heartfelt letter of thanks for Christmas — telling them that he had paid off their mortgage.

Way to go, Pavin. Talk about a priceless gift.