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10 Most Memorable Sports Moments of 2010

Lebron James made waves in 2010 by leaving Cleveland for the Miami Heat Lebron James made waves in 2010 by leaving Cleveland for the Miami Heat


2010 was an incredible year in sports, especially if you are a basketball, hockey, or MMA fan. But other sports had plenty of drama as well, both good and bad. Phil Mickelson, Serena Williams, Mike Krzyzewski, Sidney Crosby, Manny Pacquiao, Georges St. Pierre, LeBron James and Roy Halladay were all in the headlines for the right reasons. Meanwhile some characters, like Tiger Woods and Reggie Bush were in the headlines for the wrong reasons. All in all, it made for an exciting year in the NFL, PGA, NBA, NCAA, UFC and just about any other league you can name. So without further delay, here’s my list of the best moments of the sports of 2010:

10. Duke Wins NCAA Men’s Tournament

Mike Krzyzewski is a legend at DukeMike Krzyzewski is a legend at DukeMike Krzyzewski captured his fourth national championship as head coach when his #1 seed Duke defeated upstart #5 seed Butler 61-59. However, it wasn’t just the tight final game that proved thrilling. Instead, the best tournament in sports provided thrills from top to bottom.

Who can forget West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins consoling his injured star Da’Sean Butler as the senior lay prone on the floor, his dreams of a championship dashed and his pro career now in question? Or #9 seed Northern Iowa upsetting #1 seed Kansas 69-67 in the second round? Or #12 Cornell and #11 Washington both making the Sweet 16? And game after game decided in the final minute?

With all the talk of expanding the tournament, we had better enjoy it while it lasts in its current format. 2010 was one of the great years of all time. I only hope we get a few more before the bigwigs wreck it.

9. Pacquiao Dominates (twice), First World Champ in 8 Weight Classes

Manny Pacquiao rocked Joshua ClotteyManny Pacquiao rocked Joshua ClotteyManny Pacquiao was already recognized as the best pound-for-pound boxer around by pretty much every expert out there, but defeating Antonio Margarito via unanimous decision to win the vacant WBC Super Welterweight title exalted him even further. The win made Pacquiao the first boxer ever to hold world titles in eight different weight classes. The Filipino fighter has held ten world titles at weights ranging from 112 lb. flyweight to his newest title at 154 lbs.

Pacquiao also defeated Joshua Clottey earlier in the year, giving him two out-and-out dominant wins in 2010. He didn’t take out any big names like he did in 2009 (Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto) or 2008 (Oscar De La Hoya), but he improved his professional record to 52-3-2, added another belt to his collection, and looked unstoppable in the process.

 

8. Blackhawks Restore Chicago’s Hockey Glory

Jonathan Toews captained the Chicago Blackhawks to a Stanley Cup in 2010Jonathan Toews captained the Chicago Blackhawks to a Stanley Cup in 20102010 was a big year for hockey in North America. Canada defeated the U.S. to win gold at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver in one of the most watched hockey games ever in America. Meanwhile, about 50% of Canadian households tuned in to see Sidney Crosby score the overtime winner, giving Canada a 3-2 win over the American team that had defeated them in round robin play.

That set the stage for a return to glory for one of the U.S.A.’s great hockey towns – Chicago. The Chicago Blackhawks had fallen on hard times for about two decades, and hockey had become an afterthought in the Windy City. But with a young and exciting Blackhawks club led by Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, Chi-Town bought in big time. The result was a Stanley Cup championship, the fourth in franchise history, and their first since 1961.

7. Mickelson wins Masters

Phil Mickelson won an emotional Masters in 2010Phil Mickelson won an emotional Masters in 2010The biggest golf story in 2010 continued to be Tiger Woods’ sex scandal, and that plot wove its way into the narrative of the 2010 Masters as well. But in the end, it was Phil Mickelson’s emotional win that carried the day.

Woods returned to action after a 20-week PGA absence due to his personal troubles, and competed well. But Mickelson, having withdrawn from play for a portion of 2009 to support is cancer-stricken wife, played foil to Woods the philanderer. Adding to the dramatic tension was the fact that Mickelson’s mother had also been diagnosed with breast cancer. Mickelson’s Masters win was a sentimental victory for his whole family.

6. Saints Win Super Bowl, Bush Forfeits Heisman

Reggie Bush tasted glory and disgrace in 2010Reggie Bush tasted glory and disgrace in 2010The New Orleans Saints’ victory at Super Bowl XLIV was another sentimental American success story. Less than five years prior, the city of New Orleans had been ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. The Saints were chased from their home and upon returning, served as an emotional touchstone for their community. The media even started calling the Saints “America’s team.”

The Saints made some key moves following their return to New Orleans, including signing quarterback Drew Brees, trading for tight end Jeremy Shockey, and drafting offensive standouts Marques Colston and Reggie Bush, all of whom were key to the Super Bowl win. Unfortunately Bush was in the headlines for more dubious reasons in 2010, as he was stripped of his Heisman Trophy for his part in a scandal at USC, where he received benefits contravening NCAA rules.

5. Serena Williams Move To Fourth on Grand Slam List

Serena Williams continued to dominate tennis is 2010Serena Williams continued to dominate tennis is 2010In tennis, Serena Williams won two more grand slams with triumphs at Wimbledon and the Australian Open. That pair of wins gives her 13 grand slam titles, putting her fourth on the list of all time women’s singles slam winners behind legends Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova, and Chris Evert. And this was in a year cut short due to injury from a severe cut on her foot. She’ll miss a bit of 2011, but if she comes back in condition even close to how she left, she’ll continue to add major wins to her record. Regardless of the future, a shortened 2010 left no doubt that Serena Williams is the greatest active female tennis player in the world.

4. Shake Up in Heavyweight MMA as Fedor and Lesnar Lose

Cain Velasquez beat Brock Lesnar at UFC 121 to become world championCain Velasquez beat Brock Lesnar at UFC 121 to become world championTwo of the most dominant forces in MMA, who are also two of the highest profile heavyweights in the sport, got taken down a peg in 2010. The first was Fedor Emelianenko, who got caught in Fabricio Werdum’s triangle armbar, and tapped out in the first round. It was the first legitimate loss of the Russian’s 11-year career, and rocked the mixed martial arts world.

Next to fall was UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar. Lesnar was made to look human for the first time in a long time during the first round of his 2010 title match with Shane Carwin, but he bounced back to win that fight in the second round via submission. However, when he met Cain Velasquez at UFC 121 in October, the fight was all Velasquez, who became the first UFC heavyweight champion of Mexican descent with his first round TKO.

2010 also saw the final WEC event, which was a barnburner, as the company was absorbed by the UFC. MMA fans lamented the loss of the company that put on the best shows of 2010, but look forward to seeing most of the WEC roster in an expanded UFC that now includes a featherweight and bantamweight division.

3. Halladay and Braden Throw No-Hitters

Roy Halladay had an amazing, record setting 2010Roy Halladay had an amazing, record setting 2010When the Philadelphia Phillies’ Roy “Doc” Halladay threw the 20th perfect game in MLB history, he made the record books in more ways than one. 2010 marked the first time in Major League Baseball history that two no-hitters have been thrown in the same season. After Oakland A pitcher Dallas Braden threw #19 against the Tampa Bay Rays in May, Halladay completed the same feat against the Florida Marlins less than three weeks later. It was quite a year for Halladay, who also became just the second pitcher ever to throw a post-season no-hitter.

It would have been an even more incredible year in baseball except for a blown call by an umpire just a few days after Hallday’s perfect game. Armando Galarraga of the Detroit Tigers had a perfect game of his own in the making, when umpire Jim Joyce called a runner safe on a ground ball. Replay later showed the call to be wrong, and Joyce apologized for the mistake. Galarraga was gracious in the face of the controversy, but you know deep down, that one stung.

2. Africa's (and Spain's) First World Cup

Spain won its first World Cup in 2010Spain won its first World Cup in 2010The 2010 World Cup was held in South Africa, marking the first time the world’s most watched sports tournament has been held on the continent of Africa. By most accounts, it was a success. So much so, in fact, that FIFA gave the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, two more new hosts. The decision caused much uproar, but if the 2010 World Cup is any indication, breaking new ground is a good thing for soccer.

Of course, the 2010 World Cup will equally be remembered for Spain’s big win, the first time that nation has captured the biggest prize in soccer. There were a ton of great matches, and strong showings from The Netherlands and Uruguay, who return to the top of the soccer heap. Also of note was the total implosion of France’s team, who were eliminated in the first around along with Italy. It was the first time that the two finalists from the previous World Cup failed to make it to the second round.

1. LeBron, Bosh, & Wade Form Super-Team in Miami

Dwayne Wade, Lebron James, and Chris Bosh headed to Miami in search of a championshipDwayne Wade, Lebron James, and Chris Bosh headed to Miami in search of a championship“The Decision” was one of the most audacious and most talked about events of the sports year. LeBron James produced a live one-hour broadcast to announce the NBA team he would sign with during free agency. Even James’ former team, the Cleveland Cavs, had to tune in to find out James was headed to the Miami Heat.

Adding fuel to the controversial fire was the fact that fellow superstar Chris Bosh, recently of the Toronto Raptors, also took a pay cut to play for the Heat. Dwayne Wade, already of the Heat, was the third star rounding out what came to be known as “Miami Thrice.” It was an unprecedented occurrence in pro sports, with three of the league's best players choosing to play for the same team. And it was one that traditionalists and fans of small market teams hope doesn’t turn into a trend.

 

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Last modified on Wednesday, 17 October 2012 18:10

Happy is a regular contributor to RosebudMag.com and has written for various other publications, including Black Belt, Inside Hockey, and FoxSports.com. He transitioned to life as a writer following a decade-long career as a touring musician. He lives with his son in Vancouver, British Columbia

Website: www.rosebudmag.com/hkreter

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