The most memorable sporting moments from the last decade

Ryan Zheng and Pavan Pandurangi

The 2010s have hosted a multitude of unforgettable sporting moments: from the evolution of next-generation athletes to the fall of the veterans, the decade has provided fans with lifelong memories. With only two weeks left in the 2010s, we thought it would be a good idea to look back at the highlights of the decade. Here are our top ten picks for the most memorable sporting moments from the last ten years.

Honorable Mention: Linsanity

After graduating from Harvard University, Jeremy Lin was drafted by the New York Knicks in 2011. During the 2011-2012 NBA season, Lin showed off his immense talent and began picking up popularity around the world. Lin was averaging 26.8 points per game, and scored 136 points in his first five starts, the most by any player since 1976. He also boosted Knicks’ ticket revenue single-handedly and managed to create his own brand, worth about 14 million dollars. Because of his increased popularity, a global craze for Lin was started, known as Linsanity.

Number 10: Golden State proves their talent in dominating performance

During the early parts of the decade, the Golden State Warriors were not on anybody’s finals radar. But, with the rise of NBA superstar Stephen Curry and other talented players, the Warriors managed to work themselves into five finals within the past five years and win three of them. Along with this, in the 2015-2016 season, the Warriors set a new record total games won with 73 wins in the regular season. This dominance proved that the Warriors were one of the best teams in the league, and possibly one of the best dynasties of all time, ranking among the likes of the 92-93 Bulls, with the help of star players such as Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

Number 9: Back to back buzzer-beaters end a dramatic March Madness tournament

The 2016 March Madness championship was a battle of two titans, with number-two-ranked Villanova and first-ranked North Carolina facing off in the finals. The game went back and forth, each team scoring points to put themselves ahead, and then losing the lead in a matter of seconds. Both teams fought down to the wire, and within the last minute of the game, with North Carolina down three, Marcus Paige hit a game-tying, crowd electrifying three. Now, Villanova had the ball and only four seconds to win the national title. Calmly, Ryan Archidiacano of Villanova dribbled the ball down and looked for an opening in the North Carolina defense. The ball was dumped off to forward Kris Jenkins, who set his feet quickly and then sank a three to win it all. 

Number 8: Lebron James wins three rings to set himself at the top

LeBron James has cemented himself as one of the greatest NBA players of all time. During the decade, he broke numerous records, left his hometown, and rejoined teams all in an effort to become great. He started out in Cleveland, drafted first overall in 2003. At the start of the decade, James was traded to the Miami Heat, where he led the Heat to titles in 2012 and 2013. Despite this, James was deeply despised in Cleveland. After this, he worked harder, and a few years later, James decided to return to Cleveland to play for the Cavaliers. While he was there, he propelled himself to the top and launched the Cavs to a championship title. Whether he is the greatest of all time is still up for debate, but there is no questioning the fact that LeBron James has changed the game of basketball.

Number 7: New England electrifying 25 point comeback

By the end of the third quarter of Super Bowl LI, the score was 28-3, Falcons. On the other side of the field sat the five-time Super Bowl champion Patriots led by Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. The first three quarters were very one-sided, with practically all the points coming from the Falcons, but by the start of the fourth, the Patriots began one of the greatest comebacks of all time. They clawed their way back into the game scoring touchdown after touchdown, stopping the Falcons’ offense with ease. They began to dominate the game. With the game tied, both teams entered the locker rooms to await the dreaded overtime. But the Patriots stayed calm, and with a two-yard rush from running back James White, the five-time Super Bowl champs made it their sixth.

Number 6: Tiger Woods shows his skill by winning a fourth Masters

Coming off a knee injury, Tiger Woods walked into the 2019 PGA Tour Masters a bit more defeated. Despite this, Woods brought one of the best performances seen in his life and in the golfing world. He went on a rampage through each hole and easily swept past the competitors. After years of waiting, Woods finally won his fourth Masters in quick fashion, beating out top players such as Brooks Koepka and Xander Schauffele. He took home the $11 million prize after going -13 in total for the tournament. Woods was and still is one of the greatest golfers of this decade.

Number 5: Katie Ledecky stuns crowds in sensational performances at the Olympics

No woman was able to keep up with American swimmer Katie Ledecky in the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympic Games. As the youngest member of the United States Olympic team at fifteen and nineteen years old, Ledecky stunned Olympics fans, swimming the eight hundred-meter freestyle unlike it had been seen before. In 2016, she shattered her own world record that she set earlier that year, leaving her opponents ten seconds behind her as she finished. Ledecky cemented her place in swimming history, claiming a gold medal in her first Olympic Games at fifteen years old and carrying through to her second Olympics, winning yet another medal in convincing fashion.

Number 4: India clinch second World Cup title, ousting Sri Lanka in the finals

Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar played his last World Cup in India in 2011, where he and captain M.S. Dhoni led India to win their second-ever Men’s World Cup title. With Gautham Gambhir and Dhoni accumulating a total of 188 runs against Sri Lanka in the championship match, India won the World Cup for the second time in the country’s history, granting Tendulkar his long-desired wish of holding the Cricket World Cup trophy. Youngster Virat Kohli set up his career for success in their first-place finish and is now chasing down former teammate Tendulkar for the title as the greatest cricketer of all time.

Number 3: Usain Bolt dominates the Olympic track in 2012 and 2016

Although Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt achieved his undefeated world record in the hundred-meter sprint before the turn of the decade, Bolt continued to dominate the track up until his 2017 retirement. In the 2012 London Summer Olympics, Bolt managed to achieve the ‘treble-treble,’ winning the hundred-meter, two hundred-meter, and the four hundred-meter sprints, repeating his achievement in Beijing four years earlier. Bolt further impressed fans when he performed the stunt again in the 2016 Summer Olympics. Accumulating a total of nine gold medals over the course of his thirteen-year professional career, Bolt showed the world that he is truly the greatest sprinter the planet has ever seen.

Number 2: Michael Phelps returns to the pool with a splash

After a successful run at the 2012 Summer Olympics, American swimmer Michael Phelps announced his retirement. He was to leave behind his career of 18 gold medals at the age of 27. With the claim that he wanted to live a life outside of the pool, Phelps declared to his supporters that there comes a time in one’s life where one must make difficult choices. Though Phelps stunned fans with his early exit from the swimming scene, he shocked the entire nation in 2014, expressing that he will be making a return to the pool in the near future. Storming back into the 2016 Summer Olympics, Phelps erupted the crowds, amassing a total of six medals, five of which were gold. Phelps was back in the game stronger than he had left it.

Number 1: Cubs win first World Series in 108 years

Chicago fans’ 108-year long wait ended when Anthony Rizzo caught the ball at first base in the bottom of the tenth inning, granting the Cubs their first World Series victory in over a century. Climbing back from a 3-1 series deficit against the Cleveland Indians, Joe Maddon and his team pulled off what is now seen by many as the most memorable sporting moment in recent years. The Cubs’ victory brought a blue sea of millions of fans together in downtown Chicago, where they celebrated the team’s franchise-defining moment. America’s pastime had finally returned full circle to the Windy City, exciting baseball enthusiasts, and commoners alike.