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Great Moments In Sports: A Look Back at the Last 10 Years

Comebacks, Hail Marys, and Cinderella Stories

July 20 2023

It doesn’t matter what the sport is; great athletic achievements connect us all. But there’s something about a comeback that’s special in measure equal to watching a new participatory sport come out of the blue and literally take-off, right before your eyes that's also incredibly exciting. From seemingly unrecoverable shortcomings that transpire into the attainable wins to new sports that transform spectators into players, such is the stuff that turns moments into movements, redefining us individually and connecting us collectively, often including the unexpected – the Hail Mary pass, the half-court shot, the two-out bottom-of-the-ninth home run or the sport with the crazy name that's dominating the cultural zeitgeist.

Winning Weekend Warrior

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Stephen Curry celebrates after sinking an eagle putt for the win. Photo Credit: CNN

Last weekend’s American Century Celebrity Golf Championship Tournament ended in dramatic fashion. Besides sinking a hole-in-one on Saturday, Stephen Curry proved once again how untouchable he is when it comes to shooting. 

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Stephen Curry hits a hole-in-one on the 152-yard 7th hole at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. Photo Credit: Giphy

The next day, on the 18th hole of the final round, with a 3-point deficit looming over his head (playing under a version of the modified Stableford scoring system), he nailed an 18-foot putt for eagle to seal his first-ever victory in the celebrity tournament. 

It was such an iconic and Curry-esque moment: another “last-second” shot that he sank to secure the win. Something he has been doing his whole professional life in basketball. Hitting a shot like that occurs so rarely, yet for a player like Steph, it comes naturally. He almost makes it look easy.

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Stephen Curry lines up his winning eagle putt. Photo Credit: Bounding Into Sports

Such a victory reminds us of Kyle Yates, the former world #1 pickleball champion, who took home the gold in his very first USAPA National tournament in 2014.

Before launching into a few of our favorite moment-movements in America’s most popular professional sports, it seems fitting to begin with the sport that 39 million Americans are estimated to be playing in 2023 – quite an accomplishment given just 2 million were reported as actively engaged in 2019.

Pickleball’s Unexpected Explosion

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14-time major championship title winner Pickleball Pro Kyle Yates. Photo Credit: USA Pickleball

The exponential growth that has skyrocketed pickleball through pop culture like a heat-seeking missile can be attributed to two key events.

COVID-19 was the watershed moment for Pickleball, taking hold in 2020 as a user-friendly leisure anecdote to pandemic-induced isolation, accelerating the sport's growth from two (2) million to an estimated 39 million in 2023.

The second event actually happened before the first, beginning in 2014 when 19-year-old Kyle Yates jumpstarted awareness of pickleball into popular culture as we know it. Since that time, fan favorite Yates holds the sport’s MVP title of OG G.O.A.T. - the Pickleball Pro phenom and wunderkind who has relentlessly promoted this funky-named sport that national media didn’t know existed until he turned-up the volume on it. Yates, who holds 14 national and worldwide championship titles, most recently won the 2023 U.S. Open Pickleball Championship. 

And the 28-year-old is showing no signs of letting up, as a much-sought after industry thought-leader and spokesperson who continues to play in MLP’s pro league while bringing the sport to public communities and private ventures.

Remembering great athletic achievements like Yates’ title wins while witnessing Stephen Curry’s come-from-behind eagle putt last weekend had us feeling a bit nostalgic, so we're taking a backward glance at a few great moments in sports we’ve been fortunate enough to witness. From icy rinks to heated ball games, from tennis courts to lush golf courses, we take a journey back in time to celebrate these iconic events.

2021 PGA Championship: Age Ain’t Nothin’ But a Number

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The crowd follows Phil Mickleson as he approaches his final putt for the win. Photo Credit: Reuters

To kick things off, let's look back at the 2021 PGA Championship. At 50 years old, Phil Mickelson became the oldest player to win a major in the history of golf. Mickelson's historic win, his second PGA Championship, and sixth major, exemplified the timeless spirit of sports.

2020 MLB World Series: Pandemic Relief

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The Dodgers celebrate their 2020 World Series win. Photo Credit: Washington Post

The Los Angeles Dodgers ended their 32-year championship drought in the 2020 World Series against the Tampa Bay Rays, symbolizing hope and resilience in a year marked by a global pandemic. The Dodgers had just overcome a 3-1 series deficit against the Atlanta Braves in the best-of-seven NLCS to help fuel their title run.

2019 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals: Four Bounces That Changed Toronto

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Everyone is hooked on the ball as it bounces around the rim. Photo Credit: Time

The Toronoto Raptors would go on to win the 2019 NBA Championship, but not first without Kawhi Leonard, the Raptors’ star player, hitting the buzzer beater in game 7 against the Philadelphia 76ers. This game-winning shot became instantly iconic, not just for its significance to the series, but also as the defining moment of the Raptors' championship run.

2019 Masters Golf Championship: Tiger’s Back

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Tiger Woods celebrates his first major victory in 11 years. Photo Credit: CNBC

In 2019, Tiger Woods reminded us all why he's one of the greatest, by ending his 11-year major title drought at the Master's. Battling both physical and personal adversity, Woods' fifth Green Jacket was a testament to resilience and determination.

2018 Women's Tennis US Open: Dethroning the Queen

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Naomi Osaka returns a volley. Photo Credit:

A new star emerged in the 2018 Women's U.S. Open final when Naomi Osaka defeated Serena Williams to become Japan's first-ever Grand Slam singles champion. Despite the controversy that surrounded the match, Osaka's victory signaled the arrival of a new generation in women's tennis.

2017 NFL Super Bowl: Brady In Overtime

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Tom Brady leads the Patriots to an overtime Super Bowl win. Photo Credit: Dawgs By Nature

The New England Patriots made their mark in 2017. Down 28-3 at halftime against the Atlanta Falcons, the Patriots, led by Tom Brady, staged a historic comeback to win Super Bowl LI in overtime, the first in Super Bowl history.

2016 MLB World Series: Ending The 108-Year Drought

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The Cubs win game 7 in extra innings to seal their first World Series win in 108 years. Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated


In 2016, another curse was broken when the Chicago Cubs ended their 108-year title drought by winning the World Series. The Cubs overcame a 3-1 series deficit against the Cleveland Indians, culminating in an extra-inning, rain-delayed Game 7, which proved to be one of the most dramatic baseball games in history.

2016 NBA Finals: The King’s Comeback

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Lebron James makes the now-infamous "chase down block." Photo Credit: USA Today

The NBA offered a double dose of delight in 2016, with the Golden State Warriors, who had just overcome a series deficit of their own, to be overtaken by a team in the following series who were facing the same elimination scenario. The Cleveland Cavaliers, led by LeBron James, overcame a 3-1 series deficit against the previously invincible Golden State Warriors to win the NBA Championship, marking the first major sports championship for Cleveland in 52 years.

2015 Kentucky Derby: Winning By A Nose

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American Pharoah edges Firing Line in the Kentucky Derby. Photo Credit: The New York Times

The 141st running of the Kentucky Derby took place on May 2, 2015. The race was a thrilling spectacle held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, as per tradition. American Pharoah, a bay colt trained by the renowned Bob Baffert and ridden by Victor Espinoza, emerged victorious in this "Run for the Roses." This was Espinoza's third Kentucky Derby win and Baffert's fourth. American Pharoah's win was the start of an exceptional racing season, as the colt went on to win the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes, securing the coveted Triple Crown - the first since Affirmed in 1978.

2014 MLB World Series: The Third in Five

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Madison Bumgarner leads the Giants to victory. Photo Credit: The New York Times

In 2014, Major League Baseball provided us with another unforgettable moment. The San Francisco Giants, who had just barely made the playoffs with a spot in the NL Wild Card Game, had advanced to square off against the Kansas City Royals in game 7 of the World Series. Madison Bumgarner, the Giants' ace, delivered a stellar performance, sealing a 3-2 victory for his team and winning the third World Series title in five years for the Giants.

2013 NHL Stanley Cup Final: 17 Seconds To Glory

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The Chicago Blackhawks score a stunning 2 goals in 17 seconds. Photo Credit: The New York Times

Finally, we must revisit a chilling, thrilling night on June 24, 2013. The Boston Bruins were leading the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 with just 76 seconds left on the clock in the sixth game of the NHL Stanley Cup Final. However, the Blackhawks proved that they were far from defeated, scoring two goals in 17 seconds, stunning the Bruins and their home crowd to clinch the championship in dramatic fashion.

In conclusion, these events from the past decade have not only entertained us but also inspired us. They tell stories of resilience, strength, and the indomitable spirit of athletes who refuse to bow down to pressure and keep striving to break barriers, records, and, sometimes, even curses. This is the beauty of sports – its ability to captivate, inspire, and create moments of collective exhilaration that resonate beyond the field of play. Here's to the athletes who made these moments possible and to the fans who continue to make them worth striving for.



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