Some years progress with the typical, predictable outcomes in sports, as dominant teams claim another title, the elite pocket more money, and the underdog cities experience yet another disappointing year. But not in 2016.
From electrifying races to nail-biting game sevens, this year surely had moments that will go down in the history books. Kobe Bryant went out in the only way you can imagine him going out and Messi dropped the ball no cliche. Go through and prepare to be amazed.
Curry Breaks Kobe’s Record
All the fuss in Oakland was about how in the world were both Klay Thompson and Steph Curry going to get touches with Kevin Durant coming to town? Well, Curry and Thompson were not worried about that and Curry proved it early in the season. Kobe Bryant had the record for most three-pointers in a single game at 12, that is until the baby-faced assassin broke it early in the 2016-17 season.
The irony to this is, the game before, the Warriors had just got crushed by the Lakers and Curry did not make one three. Clearly, he wanted to make a loud and clear response that he was still “Steph Curry with the Shot”.
A Helping Hand at the Olympics
This is the Olympics, and athletes train ridiculously hard to make it to this mountain top. The world is watching and you have to give it everything you’ve got. To make it there is almost impossible. If you do train hard enough to make it and represent your country, your next goal is to try and win a medal.
In the semi-final 5,000 meter race, Nikki Hamblin from New Zealand tripped and fell. All that hard work down the drain. American Abbey D’Agostino tripped as well and then urged a panicked Hamblin to get up and finish the race! The two would go on to be the last two finishers but still got to advance to the finals because of being tripped. Now that is sportsmanship.
Kobe Goes Out With a Bang
The storied 20-year career of Kobe Bryant came to a sad end this past NBA season. Having not been his old self the whole season only showing flashes of what he once capable of doing, his last game was a pleasure for all NBA fans to witness. He went out like only The Black Mamba should go out.
Bryant reached the 50 point mark during the 4th quarter but his team was still trailing. Hopping into the time machine, Bryant rallies the Lakers back into the game and gets the crowd going crazy. He takes the lead back all by himself and finishes with 60. Mamba out.
At the Buzzer!
If you ever grew up playing basketball, then you have put yourself in the make belief position of nailing a game-winning shot. You have also dreamed of winning a championship. Those two things came to fruition when Kris Jenkins of Villanova sunk the game-winning shot and crushed North Carolina’s dream in the National Championship game.
Jenkins said, “What I remember most are two things: the shot, and my teammates tackling me right after. Those two thoughts go hand in hand. The three-pointer I hit at the buzzer to beat North Carolina last April was the kind of shot you practice all the time growing up.”
Rodgers with the Miracle
Aaron Rodgers is one of the top, if not the absolute best, quarterback in the NFL. Last season he showed his amazing potential. Usually, hail marys never work because the opposing team knows it is coming. Hail marys barely ever work in the video games, even! It is impeccable that he pulled this off in a playoff game.
Time had expired and Rodgers was scrambling for his season. After evading a few defenders, he squared up and launched a bomb towards the end zone almost 60 yards! Jeff Janis caught it and sent the game into overtime, cementing the greatness of Rodgers.
Bolt with the Triple-Triple
The fastest man in the history of the world came to the 2016 Olympics with one goal in his mind; win gold in all three of his events. Something that no sprinter has ever done before is win three golds in the 100m, 200m, and the 4x100m relay in three consecutive Olympics. Bolt went to Rio and did just that.
The usual antics of Bolt were on full display as he advanced through the rounds. One picture of him went viral when he looked back and smiled back at his competition as he was easily breaking ahead of them. Bolt has expressed that he wants to be remembered as one of the greats so maybe this feat has done that for him.
LeBron Finally Did It
LeBron James and company delivered the City of Cleveland their first championship in 52 years when they won the 2016 NBA championship. James had promised to do so and he lived up to his word. It may have taken him longer than he wanted but when it happened, you were able to see all of the emotion he had pent up inside of him unleash.
The series with the Warriors was a tough one. Everyone counted out the Cavaliers when they fell 3-1 in the series. James was not going out like that. He led his team back and won it for The Land.
They Were Almost Out
The Women’s USA 4×100 relay team was poised to go to the Olympics and win the gold. They had the majority of the fastest women in the world on their side. When they started the race in one of the preliminary rounds, it was going smoothly until something happened that sent shock waves across the nation.
During the baton exchange, one of the girls dropped it and the team ended up being disqualified. The girls appealed it because they said they were bumped causing them to lose control of the baton. They won the appeal and had to run the race again all alone to get a time. Their time qualified for the finals and they went on to win gold in dramatic fashion.
Serena Williams Ties History
Serena Williams is labeled as the best female athlete in the world and for good reason. She dominates opponents and makes it look easy. Since she became a pro she has worked hard to climb the ranks of tennis elites. On July 22, 2016 she tied the record for winning the most majors. And the scary thing is, she still has more to win.
“Yeah, it’s been incredibly difficult not to think about it. I had a couple of tries this year,” Williams said during the trophy ceremony. “But it makes the victory even sweeter to know how hard I worked for it.”
The Ultimate Dunk Contest
The NBA All-Star weekend is when the celebrities come out and witness some of the world’s greatest athletes put on a show. The East is pitted against the West for the Sunday showcase but prior to that, contests are held Friday and Saturday. One of those contests is the dunk contest and the 2016 dunk contest was one to be remembered.
Reigning champion Zach Levine came prepared to show everyone he is worthy of being the dunk champion. Newcomer Aaron Gordon had something to say about that. The two went round for round racking up perfect scores forcing two additional dunk off rounds. When Lavine did a between the legs from the free throw line, it was the end of the show.
Cubs Win! Cubs Win!
It was 108 years since the Cubs had won a world series. Do you understand how long that is? Plenty of historical events have gone down in that time span but the Cubs just could not grab a championship. And to make the deal even sweeter, they clawed back from a 3-1 deficit to win.
Pitcher of the Cubs, John Lester said the road was not easy. “Nothing’s been easy, nothing’s been given to us,” Lester said. “Every series has been a battle and been a grind for us. We played three really good opponents to get here, and here we stand. It’s an unbelievable feeling to be a part of this.”
Canada Grabs the Gold!
How fitting is it for the Canadiens to win the Gold for the World Cup of Hockey in Canada? Making it to the final round against team Europe, they were losing by one deep into the third quarter. With a great mentality, they were able to come back and ended up winning by one point.
“It was always, ‘one shot away,’” Patrice Bergeron said. “It’s always ‘who wants to be that guy?’ And there are so many guys in this dressing room who want to be in that position. We have so much talent in this dressing room that we knew all we needed was one bounce to go our way.”
McGregor Makes History
Conor McGregor has a reputation of being an arrogant fighter. For the most part, he backs it all up. The guy knows how to fight. In November of 2016, McGregor made history against Eddie Alvarez, an opponent who swore he would be victorious against McGregor. It only took two rounds for history to be made. Now, McGregor holds the UFC Lightweight and Featherweight championships.
“I saw this so clearly – I swear to God – I saw this so clearly,” McGregor told Rolling Stone after his win. “I followed it until it was reality. I’m very confident in my abilities. I back it up with work ethic, I back it with hours and hours of time and dedication.”
Dubs Go 73-9
Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls of 1996 had a NBA record of 72 wins and a championship that year. A team that is said to be the greatest of all time. To only lose 10 games out of 82 is something most NBA fans would never see happen again. That is until Steph Curry and the Warriors took the league by storm.
The 2015-16 season was a season where the Warriors were coming off a championship against the Cavaliers so they wanted to build off of that. Well, they did more than build as they constructed a historic season beating the Bulls record by one win. They just didn’t capitalize on winning the championship.
Messi Comes Up Short
Have you ever seen a man look as if his whole life is over? That was how Lionel Messi looked after he failed to make his penalty kick in the finals of Copa America. A man with such talent given the chance to help his team win with a free kick and he blows it. The sorrow was all over his face after they lost the match.
“It was my turn to miss the penalty kick,” Messi told reporters after Sunday’s match. “I was the first to shoot and it was so important to make the difference and today it was my turn to miss it.”
Murray Wins his Second Wimbledon
Andy Murray is one of the top three male tennis players in the world. He competes at a high level and works just as hard as anyone. He went into the 2016 Wimbledon looking for a victory and that is what he left with. This was his second Wimbledon victory and the first time a British man has won several Wimbledon singles titles since 1935.
“This is the most important tournament for me every year,” said an emotional Murray. “I’ve had some great moments here, but also some tough losses. The win feels extra special because of the tough losses.”
The G.O.A.T. Swimmer
Michael Phelps has a total of 28 medals and 23 of them are gold. Phelps declared that the 2016 Olympics would be his last competition, so what better way to go out than on top of the podium. His last event was the relay and his teammates helped him secure the gold one final time.
“We put together great relays,” Phelps said after the race. “Murph starting off with a world record is just insane. … I’ve had the opportunity to be on some of the greatest relays of all time. It truly is an honor.” Just like a champion to give credit to others for his success.
Manning Rides off into the Sunset
Peyton Manning had an amazing career. Many thought he would not be the same after he had his neck surgery, including his former team the Colts, but boy did he prove them wrong. He appeared in back-to-back Superbowls and set a few records during his stint with the Denver Broncos.
The first Superbowl appearance in 2014 against the Seahawks was a game to forget for Manning as he and his team got blown out. Some speculated that he would retire after that game, but he came back with a vengeance. Two seasons later, he led his team back to the Superbowl and took down the MVP in Cam Newtown in a dominating fashion. It was then Manning decided to retire, on top as he should.