10. Lou Gehrig’s Farewell Speech
On July 4th, 1939, a dying Lou Gehrig stood before a stadium full of 60,000 people and created the most moving moment in sports history. A Native New Yorker, Gehrig had been playing baseball for the Yankees until he no longer could – his 13-year career (without one missed game) cut short by the debilitating disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). That day, he expressed to fans his belief that he was “the luckiest man in the world” for having been a part of baseball and getting so much encouragement from the fans.
9. Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-Point Game
On March 2, 1962 the Philadelphia Warriors played the New York Knicks in Hershey, Pennsylvania. With 46 seconds left in the game and Wilt Chamberlain having scored 98 points, he slam dunked the ball and made history with a 100-point game and a monumental win for Philly. Fans went wild, with hundreds of them rushing the court in order to celebrate their new hero, causing mass hysteria. According to experts, the games last 46 seconds were never played. The NBA named this as one of the most historic games of all time.
8. Michael Phelps
On August 17th, 2008, swimmer Michael Phelps won his eighth gold medal of the 2008 Olympic games in the 4×100 meter medley relay, surpassing Mark Spitz’s record of seven gold medals won in a single Olympic Games, which had not been broken since 1972.
7. Tiger Woods Makes Golf History
Tiger Woods sealed his place as a sports icon and phenomenon on April 23th 1997 when, at 21-years-old, he became the youngest player to ever win the Masters in the 61-year history of the tournament. What made the victory especially meaningful was that the mix-race golf champion won the tournament, which had a history of racism, at a golf club which didn’t have even one black member until 1991. Woods finished the game with a score of 270, beating Jack Nicklaus’ and Raymond Floyd’s shared record by one stroke. That day, Woods forever changed the face, color, and perception of golf.
6. Michael Jordan and “The Shot”
History was made when Michael Jordan, the greatest American basketball player of all time (five-time NBA MVP and six-time NBA finals MVP) made one of the most dramatic buzzer-beating shots ever seen, forever known as “the shot.” In the 5th playoff game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, on May 7th 1989, Jordan and the Chicago Bulls had been behind. Then, with six seconds left in the game, Jordan scored for the Bulls, putting them at a one-point lead. Cleveland quickly came back, leading 100-99 with 3.2 seconds to go. At the last moment possible, Jordan threw from the foul line and won the game for the Bulls.
5. “Last Minute” Win For Arsenal
Football fans were in shock on May 26th, 1989, when Arsenal, during a British league championship deciding game, needed to beat Liverpool by a two goal margin if they wanted to win. The first half of the game had ended with a score of 0-0. Striker, Alan Smith, scored one point for Arsenal during the second half – but the team still needed a second goal. In the last 60 seconds of the match, Michael Thomas made a last-ditch-effort, aggressively attacking Liverpool’s goal and scoring the much-need point for Arsenal.
4. Wayne Gretzky Enters NHL History
On March 23, 1994, Wayne Gretzky scored his 802nd NHL goal – making him the highest scoring player of all time, beating the standing record of 1,850 points held by Gordie Howe. Gretzky’s all-time records are shocking! He is the only NHL player to score over 200 points in one season (which he accomplished four times). Aside from Jackie Robinson, he is the only pro-league American player to have his jersey number (#99) retired forever.
3. Soviet Union vs. USA Hockey 1980
The USA hockey team at the 1980 Winter Olympics was a questionable group of teenagers taking on one of the strongest teams at the time; the Soviet national team, who had defeated the NHL All-Stars team earlier in the year 6–0. The Soviet hockey team was made up of the best hockey players in the world. They had won the Olympic gold in 1964, 1968, 1972 and 1976. The Olympics pit these mismatched teams against each other against the dramatic backdrop of the Cold War. In the game’s final 10 seconds, with the score tied at three, Mike Eruzione, captain of the US team, scored, winning the game 4-3. This victory was voted the greatest sports moment of the twentieth century by Sports Illustrated.
2. Mike Tyson
One of the most controversial moments in sports history happened during the Tyson vs. Holyfield boxing match fought on June 28, 1997. At the time, Mike Tyson was in the midst of a comeback of sorts, after having served a prison sentence for rape and suffering several professional defeats. The fight came to a halt at the end of the third round when Mike Tyson, arguably one of the greatest boxers of all time, was disqualified for biting Holyfield’s two ears, pieces of which were found on the floor of the ring. After the first bite, the match was paused but resumed. After the second, however, Tyson was disqualified and Holyfield won. Tyson is a former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world and holds the record as the youngest boxer to win the WBC, WBA and IBF heavyweight titles. Tyson won his first 19 professional matches by knockout, 12 of them in the first round.
1. Jesse Owens Challenges Nazism
Jesse Owens, the son of a black sharecropper from Alabama, changed history on August 9th 1936, when he set three world records and one Olympic record, and earned four track and field gold medals in the summer Olympics held in Adolf Hitler’s racist Germany. Owens won the 100 meters in an Olympic-record 10.3 seconds, set an Olympic record of 26-53/8 in the long jump, and won the 200 meters in an Olympic-record 20.7 seconds. Owens won his fourth gold medal, leading off the 4×100-meter relay that would set a world record at 39.8 seconds. German audiences, including Hitler himself, were dismayed that their theories of Aryan superiority had been challenged by Owens, forever a symbol of freedom and black pride.