Photo From: The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
As another year comes to an end, and we prepare for the start of a new one, I can't help but remember all the great sporting moments of this year. As fans flooded the stands, and players returned to their stadiums, 2021 brought back normalcy that we have seemed to have forgotten in 2020. As COVID-19 still affects our everyday life, we have witnessed some monumental moments in the sports world.
Down Below, I list my Top 10 favorite sports moments from 2021…
Photo From: Sky Sports
10. Atlanta Braves Win World Series
Going into the month of August, when the conversation of the World Series came up, the Braves were simply not in it, considering they were consistently at .500 or below. We saw them struggle to win games, especially when their main man Ronald Acuna Jr. blew out his knee. Forget the World Series, nobody expected them to make the playoffs, which they luckily snuck in with just 88 wins, the lowest of any playoff team. It was at that moment, where they barely made it into the postseason, that everything seemed to click. After knocking off the Brewers, and a surprising upset against the Dodgers, the Braves went to win their first title since 1995.
Photo From: NBC Sports
9. Russell Westbrook Beats Triple-Double Record
A record that even the greats said would never be broken, 181 triple-doubles put up by Oscar Robertson. Westbrook broke that record last season with the Washington Wizards as he was averaging a triple-double, his fourth time in five seasons, another record he holds. I don't think people quite understand how difficult it is to achieve such statistical greatness, Westbrook will soon be the only player in the 200 club regarding triple-doubles. After breaking almost every triple-double record you can think of, Westbrook continues to give his all every moment he is on the floor, playing with a passion we rarely see.
Photo From: USA Today
8. Bryce Young and Alabama Beat Auburn in Four OT’s
Going into the Iron Bowl, no one expected it to be a close game, the Tigers tough grit defense had them leading Bama 10-3 with only 1:35 left in the game, basically tasting victory. But that was not the case. With 24 seconds left, the Heisman winner Bryce Young proved why he deserved this award, a perfect 28-yard touchdown pass to Ja’Corey Brooks tying up the game. Going into four overtimes, this game felt never-ending, until Bryce Young found his star receiver John Metchie III for two-point conversions and a 24-22 win. Young has led Alabama to an unbelievable season, now we wait to see if he can lead Alabama to a title game today at 3:30 against Cincinnati.
Photo From: ELLE
7. Suni Lee Wins Gold in All-Around
When the thought of the Olympics occurs, a majority of people immediately think of Simone Biles. And yes, that makes a lot of sense, these Tokyo Olympics were supposed to be the competition that cemented Simone Biles as the GREATEST gymnast ever, as if she already isn't. That was all the talk leading up to it, Simone this, Simone that. But, her struggles got the best of her and didn't allow her to compete, giving other USA gymnasts the chance of a lifetime. Although Simone's difficulties still stole the headlines, one gymnast didn't let that affect her Olympic time. Suni Lee coming in as the underdog took first in the Uneven Bars, and then Gold for her floor routine, being the fifth consecutive American to win the all-around gold.
Photo From: New York Post
6. Knicks make Playoffs for the First Time Since 2012-13 Season
On May 12th, 2021 the Knicks have assured a playoff position since the year 2012-2013, even avoiding the play-in tournament. Knicks Star Julius Randle had a lot to do with that success as he had a career season averaging 24.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 6 assists. The seven-year playoff dry spell finally came to an end and excited not only the fans of New York but NBA fans from all around the world. They then went to lose in the first round to the Atlanta Hawks in five games, but it didn't matter because this drive brought new hope to the city.
Photo From: CBS Sports
5. Women's USA Dream Team for the Gold
When I think of girl power, the image of these four ladies pops into my head. The dedication, chemistry, and grit these ladies have are unmatched and a blessing to have watched. The 4-X-400 meter relay may be the most entertaining event of any track meet, and being the biggest meet in the world, millions of eyes would be on them. The four ladies, Allyson Felix, Athing Mu, Dalilh Muhammad, and Sydney Mclaughlin each did fantastic in their individual events, but the togetherness we witnessed during this relay by four legends was breathtaking. They not only just won the relay, but they held a difference of FOUR SECONDS, torching their competition.
Photo From: The Pewter Plank
4. Tom Brady Wins Another Superbowl, But With a Different Team
Tom Brady continues to shock the world, at age 44 the Future Hall Of Famer did the unexpected as he left Bill Belichick and the Patriots to join Tampa Bay before the 2020-2021 season. Most of the people would say it was a big risk to question why he wouldn't finish his career with the team he made a dynasty with. But I think it's safe to say, the risk was worth it. The start of the season was rocky, but once given a chance in the playoffs Tampa Bay made it to the Superbowl against the favorites, Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. Brady threw 21-29, 201 yards, and three touchdowns in that Superbowl game which resulted in his seventh title. All I have left to say, GOAT.
Photo From: Mid-Major Madness
3. Gonzaga Buzzer Beater Against UCLA
I remember this exact moment, watching in Madison Social, everyone glued to the TV shocked that underdogs UCLA was about to take out the number one seed Gonzaga in the Final Four. Let's just say, Jalen Suggs was not gonna let that happen. This was probably the craziest March Madness game I have ever watched, the Bruins had a response to every bucket Gonzaga put up. The final possessions of this game were so captivating, but the final sequence takes the cake. In overtime, UCLA was down two with three seconds left, star guard Johnny Juzang missed his floater but followed through, got his bucket, and layed it up to tie the game. With the clock reaching zero, Jalen Suggs would acquire the inbounds pass, cross mid-court, and release the ball that would give them a chance at the championship game and a continuation to their “dream season.” Which he did, banked the shot, got some iconic photos, and took his team to the championship game where they would lose to the Baylor Bears.
Photo From: Financial Times
2. Simone Biles Puts Aside Obstacles to Overcome Beam
As I mentioned before, these Tokyo Olympics were supposed to be Simone Biles' year to separate herself from all the other gymnasts and solidify herself as the best gymnast ever. But some things come before all of that, and mental health is one of them. She had a case of the “twisties,” something gymnasts say is their biggest fear, your body and your mind completely separated from each other leading to horrific injuries. Heading into these Olympics Biles was expected to win Gold in all of her events, but as she slowly dropped out of all of her events that expectation was soon a dream. Simone decided to compete in her last event, the balance beam, hoping she could break through and prove even through her darkest times she could still be a force to reckon with. Although she wasn't competitively her strongest, she won bronze, and to her that was all she could ask for, being one of her proudest moments. Simone displayed her strength through these times, proving that mental health is no joke, and athletes deal with it often. I commend her so much for her bravery.
Photo From: Sports Illustrated
1. Giannis Win’s NBA Title
We have reached my favorite sports moment of the year 2021. With multiple All-Star appearances, two consecutive MVPs, being an NBA champion was all he needed to take his resume and put it with the greats. Everyone doubted him, doubted the Bucks, taking away their chance at a championship before they even got it. But Giannis’s playoff run proved that you don't need a super team to be NBA champions. Dropping 50 points in game 6 against the Phoenix Suns, and two 40 point games earlier that series, Giannis amazed me more than ever before. Being down 2-0 to Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns was all Giannis needed to then win four straight and be named an NBA Champion. When I think about that series I can't help but think about the performance Giannis put up day in and day out. I said after round one of the playoffs that this exact series was going to happen, and Giannis will finally get the credit he deserves. After signing a five-year contract with the Bucks, everyone was so angry saying that he can't win a chip with them and that he needs out of Milwaukee if he wants one. Well, guess what, everyone was wrong. He deserved that moment, the Bucks deserved that moment.
Photo From: REDEF
I can't believe 2021 has already come to an end, but I know so many more amazing sports moments are waiting for us in 2022, and I can't wait to witness and be a part of them. Again, these are MY favorite moments of 2021, but the list goes on and on. What are some of your favorite moments?