Moments that will live on for generations.
This decade could be described in many ways. We’ve seen superhero movies absolutely dominate the entertainment industry, viral trends entrance millions, and witnessed some of the greatest moments in sports history.
Moments we will be sharing with our kids and theirs. Stories of grandeur that may one day be heralded as legend. We’ve witnessed comebacks that were previously only possible in Hollywood, seen the rise of titans, and the dramatic victories of the David’s.
This is the decade where a 71-year-old curse was broken. The decade where teams experienced the euphoria of winning a championship for the first time. The decade that saw Olympians decorated like never before.
The list could go on and on. Narrowing a year down to just ten outstanding moments is already difficult, let alone ten years. Some of these moments may be singular to a sport, but earned the respect of fans everywhere.
Being able to witness these moments could be considered a blessing. We fail to realize that these events could be a once in a lifetime deal and we were here to witness it all.
Of course, with every hero story, there is the, for lack of a better word, the loser. If you were on the receiving end; the stepping stone for the monumental assent to glory, we hope time has healed at least most of your wounds.
On the bright side, you witnessed history. Even if you’re a Bruins fan, you got to see the St. Louis Blues capture their first Stanley Cup. You didn’t have to be Canadian to feel empowered by Bianca Andreescu winning the US Open and you didn’t have to be Jamaican to celebrate Usain Bolt dominating the 100m and 200m sprints, becoming the only person to win the events in three consecutive Olympics.
There were even some less-than-memorable moments that still shook the sports world. Who could forget the McGregor vs Mayweather boxing bout that clashed a UFC superstar against an undefeated boxing legend. Sure, it was more of a publicity stunt but the exposure boxing received from the single fight was more than worth it.
Then there’s the infamous moments that still irk the ire of basketball fans. The formation of the Big Three in Miami created a ripple wave that has turned into off-seasons where stars now arguably control the outcome of the season to come. An off-season like the one the NBA just had in 2019 could almost undeniably be attributed to the notorious phrase “I’m taking my talents to South Beach.”
As you can see, these past ten years have been quite the show, but now, it’s time to relive the greatest moments of the decade. We suspect there will be some very strong opinions about what is listed below. If you feel there has been a moment disregarded or a moment overvalued, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
1. Manchester City’s first title after 44 years (2012)
Manchester City was receiving a lot of investment and the club was bound to achieve something sooner or later. In 2012, they had one obstacle that was keeping them away from their title, Queen’s Park Rangers; a team that was fighting to avoid relegation.
A match between a team that is one game from the championship versus a team one game away from relegation. Much was on the line. The Rangers were down a man but were leading the game. All hope seemed lost, City fans were in tears, and the team was all but defeated…but then Sergio Agüero happened.
2. Cubs End 71-Year-Old Curse (2016)
The Curse of the Billy Goat. A curse that haunted Chicago Cubs fans for generations. Legend has it that William Sianis, owner of Billy Goat Tavern, placed a hex on the team after he was asked to leave Wrigley Field during the 1945 World Series. Sianis brought his pet goat, Murphy, to the game but the goat’s odor was too much for fans to handle.
The Cubs went on to lose the ’45 World Series and would never go to another World Series…until 2016. After defeating the LA Dodgers for the National League title, the Cubs were once again on baseballs biggest stage. It took them seven games, but with a throw from third baseman Kris Bryant to first base would earn the final out of the series, crowning the Cubs as champions once more, 108 years after their last title.
3. Rise of Andy Murray (2013)
When it comes to tennis, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are pretty much household names. In 2012 and 2013, however, the world of tennis was captured by another man.
After winning the Grand Slam in 2012, Andy Murray kept dominating the scene, going on to win in Wimbledon in 2013.
4. David Weir’s gold rush (2013)
David Weir is a Paralympic athlete who has won a total of six gold medals in his active career. He won 4 of those medals at the 2012 London Paralympics. Edging out his competition in each of his races, no medal came easy for the Paralympian.
After the event Weir commented “I had to be in super-human shape to win four and I’ve done it.”
5. Tiger's Return To Glory (2019)
Some call it the “greatest comeback in sports history.” We aren’t surprised.
Four back surgeries and a personal scandal, that was known to every man, woman, and child that knew how to operate a T.V, spelled the end of an illustrious career that brought golf to the mainstream. Only, it didn’t.
Eleven years after winning his last major championship, Tiger accomplished the impossible. Tying Fransesco Molinari for the lead at the 12th hole, Tiger would stay true to his title as the “greatest closer” as he slowly took the lead on the next three holes. Up two shots on the final hole, Tiger bogeyed for the win. His win at Augusta is his 15th major championship, moving him closer to Jack Nicklaus’ record 18 majors.
6. Michael Phelps Becomes The Most Decorated Olympian
Twenty-three Gold medals, three Silver, and two Bronze medals makes Michael Phelps the most decorated Olympian in the competitions 123 year history.
His domination of the sport over five Olympics has been mesmerizing to witness and we may never see another athlete dominate like he has for quite some time.
7. LeBron keeps his promise (2016)
No team had ever come back from being down 3-1 in the NBA Finals. That’s because those teams never had LeBron James.
Hometown hero turned despised villain turned hometown hero once again, LeBron is used to wearing many different capes. In 2016, he definitely chose his Superman cape. After going down 3-1 to the Warriors, the Cavaliers looked like they were about to lose back-to-back Finals to Golden State.
They managed to win Game 5 but the tide was still against them. Then they win Game 6 and it’s almost like inevitability is in the air. If anyone can overcome a 3-1 deficit, it’s LeBron James, and now he just needed to win one more game. And what a game it was.
The Block. The Shot. The Stop.
And just like that, Cleveland was once again the land of champions, ending a 52-year championship drought for the city.
8. Patriots’ Super Bowl win (2017)
The greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. Even that doesn’t sum up just how miraculous this game was.
Down 28-3 with eight minutes left in the third quarter, and a lackluster showing from the entire Patriots squad should have sealed the fate of the 51st Super Bowl. However, superstars make their own fate, and Tom Brady is as great as they come.
Credit to the entire team as well, of course. A momentum shifting forced fumble by Dont’a Hightower, timely receptions by Danny Amendola, powerful rushes by James White, and the greatest catch in the history of football by Julian Edelman propelled the Pats to a 31-point comeback to take the game 34-28, in overtime.
9. Age of the Warriors (2015-2019)
The Golden State Warriors have been the most dominant team in the NBA, for the better half of the decade. Not only have they made the most Finals appearances in the last ten years, they’re style of play has dynamically altered the entire league. The Warriors could very well be credited with killing the role of the big man, with their small-ball style of play.
If that’s not enough, the prolific shooting and unstoppable scoring prowess of the Splash Brothers, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, has completely changed the way the game is now played. The three is now an essential part of every teams strategy, and that is all thanks to the Warriors.
The team had the perfect combination of star power, chemistry and overall skill. Over the span of their five consecutive Finals appearances, they managed to secure three championships, and almost completed a the first three-peat since the 01-02 Lakers.
10. An End of a Dynasty (2019)
Well, we just mentioned that Warriors were the team to remember from this decade, but we should also remember the last team that stopped the Warriors train.
The Toronto Raptors and a resurgent Kawhi Leonard ready to prove he was still an elite force.
The Raptors were heavy underdogs going into their first Finals, while the Warriors were expected to easily take the series and complete their three-peat. That all went away after the Raptors came out surging in Game 1, taking a surprising lead early in the series. With Kevin Durant out, the Warriors no longer seemed like the unstoppable force they were the last two seasons. Down 3-1 heading into Game 5, the writing was on the wall.
The Warriors had experience with 3-1 comebacks, both good and bad, but a Game 5 injury to Kevin Durant who had just returned almost sealed the deal. Never question the heart of a champion, though. Even with their biggest star out, the Warriors willed their way to force a Game 6 at home.
The game was back and forth, until disaster struck again for the Warriors. Klay goes down with a knee injury and is forced to leave the game, leaving Steph to carry his team. Credit to the Warriors for keeping it close till the very end, but injuries and a 3-1 deficit were too much to overcome, and the Raptors claimed their first ever NBA title.
The Raptors extraordinary championship run acted as a reset for the entire league. Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley stated after the series that “we all see that as an opportunity to have that aspiration.” In the following off-season, Kevin Durant left the Warriors for Brooklyn to join Kyrie Irving. Kawahi left his championship team to chase a chip in his hometown of LA with Paul George, on the Clippers. LeBron assembled another superstar squad on the Lakers, with Anthony Davis.
A league that had been dominated by the Warriors for the better half of a decade was now returned to a more balanced state. What team will end up in the Finals this year? No one knows, and that’s the way it should be.
Thank you, Raptors.