The 10 Greatest Moments in Modern Sports History
I'll never forget the shot. You know, the one where Michael Jordan switched hands in mid-air to finish at the rim with his left hand during the '91 NBA Finals. I'll also never forget the first time I saw a grand slam at Nats Park with my son. Both moments created visceral and unplanned responses of joy and excitement. And while neither of those moments made this list, they speak to the power of sports. Every sports fan has moments that he or she will remember as long they have memory. Below are ten moments that happened during the modern sports era that continue to give chills and thrills to all sports fans.
To be honest, this has been the hardest list I've ever attempted to compile. To help, I've limited the moments to those that have happened post-1950. As great as it was when Jesse Owens showed up Hitler at the 1936 Olympics was, you're going to be hard-pressed to find anyone still alive who watched it. Same goes for Lou Gehrig's "Luckiest Man" speech as well as the breaking of the color barrier by Jackie Robinson. However, those final two wouldn't make my list anyway because I've also winnowed down the list to moments of athletic achievement on the field of play. This means that, as much as it personally pains me to leave it off, Michael Jordan's fax with the words "I'm back" is not included.
(Honorable Mentions: U.S. women's soccer team wins the 1999 World Cup; Pete Rose sets all-time hits record; Michael Phelps wins 8 gold medals; Malcolm Butler's interception in 2015 Super Bowl; Secretariat wins Triple Crown; The Immaculate Reception; Keri Strug wins gold; Wilma Rudolph overcomes polio to win three gold medals in track and field; Mary Lou Retton earns perfect 10s; Doug Flutie's Hail Mary; Cal Ripken breaks Lou Gehrig's record.)
10. Alex Honnold free-soloing El Capitan
Alex Honnold was the first climber to free-solo the nearly 3,000 feet of California's El Capitan's vertical rock face. "Free-solo" means he did it without a rope or a safety harness. For just under four hours, Honnold clung to the side of El Capitan with just his fingers and feet. That's incredible!
9. The Catch
If it weren't for Dwight Clark's leaping, acrobatic, fingertip catch of Joe Montana's pass into the end-zone to seal the 1981 NFC championship game, the San Francisco 49ers' dynasty might never have taken flight. It's not just the physical feat of The Catch that earns its spot on this list, it's the import it had on the history of the NFL.
8. Michael Jordan's final shot as a Bulls player