We know 2020 is unlikely to be anyone’s favorite year, but there were still some good moments. The Turf has put together a list of our favorite sports moments of the year.
Enjoy, and Happy New Year!
Christian Heilman – Liverpool wins the Premier League Title
Liverpool were having a record shattering year before the Covid 19 shutdown. Fans were left wondering if there would be a finish to the season or if it was best to call it and reset and plan for the next season. Liverpool returned to their championship quest on June 21st, more than 3 months after their last game and the campaign ended with The Reds lifting their first League Title since 1990.
Craig Kaufman – Gustavo Bou’s Game Winner
My favorite sports moment of the year was Gustavo Bou’s absolutely filthy game-winning goal in the 95th minute for the New England Revolution. Very rarely do you get a walk-off game-winner in soccer, but that’s exactly what Bou delivered in the opening round of the MLS playoffs against the Montreal Impact.
The game was tied at one from the 37th minute on, but New England had dominated possession and chances, making the prospect of sudden death overtime or the dreaded PK’s an exhausting and nerve-wracking possibility. That made it all the more exhilarating when Bou curled home his incredible effort in the last thirty seconds of stoppage time, and I jumped off my couch in excitement while relief washed over me.
The goal sparked the #8 seeded Revs to upsets over Philly and Orlando, all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals before they fell to eventual MLS Cup winners Columbus. That run showed that this young, talented Revolution team might be able to finally scale the mountain, but for the moment I can enjoy Bou’s heroics as a bright spot in a dark year for Boston sports.
Tim Olsen – The NBA Bubble
My favorite 2020 moment has to be the NBA Bubble in its totality. It was so awesome to see pure basketball play out with no home court advantage. This was no more evident than in the Nuggets’ win against the Clippers. There is no way the Nuggets win game seven at Staples in front of that crowd.
It opened the door to the NBA play-in series which should continue moving forward. Memphis vs Portland was so exciting. Phoenix, who was buried in the West, suddenly was given new life in the bubble and was able to catapult into a West contender this season because of it; without the bubble, they continue in purgatory. We were able to see stars born like Luca Doncic, Jamal Murray, and Devin Booker. We finally saw the best team win in the end which is how it should be. I can go on and on. It was pure awesomeness.
Terry Cudmore – The Celtics Grow Up
My favorite sports moment of 2020 was the Boston Celtics’ game seven victory over the Toronto Raptors. Going toe to toe with the defending champs (even without Kawhi Leonard) was a major step forward for the careers of Boston’s young star tandem of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
Tatum continued to flash his potential MVP ceiling in the bubble and averaged a 26/10/5 during the playoffs, with a 29/12/7 performance in this game seven. Brown averaged 22 points and 7.5 rebounds in the playoffs and had 21 and 8 in the deciding game vs. Toronto.
The next series vs. Miami didn’t go the Celtics way, but this was a sign to the rest of the league this duo is only scratching the surface of what they can accomplish.
Jason Barash – Lakers Win the Title
I’m not a Lakers fan but I think many people this season became Lakers fans out of the tragedy that struck the NBA and the world in late January. After Kobe Bryant passed away tragically, I wanted nothing more than for LeBron James and the Lakers to carry on Kobe’s legacy with an NBA championship in 2020. Unfortunately, the season looked like it was going to be canceled but luckily, Adam Silver and the league masterfully handled the pandemic and continued the season later in the year. A rollercoaster of emotions and hardships culminated in a Lakers title in a year where they deserved it more than anyone. Not only was Kobe’s legacy celebrated but I gained a boatload of respect for LeBron for how he handled everything this season and still managed to win a championship.
Justin Colombo – Tatis Jr.’s 3-0 Grand Slam
Fernando Tatis Jr. is the most exciting player on the most exciting team in all of baseball. The guy is must-see TV every time he takes the field. Personally, I have not felt this way about a baseball player since Pedro’s 1999-2000 season, or McGwire and Sosa during the Home Run Race of 1998. Tatis, Jr. is the best thing that has happened to baseball in a long time, which is why his most controversial moment of 2020 is the biggest MLB moment of 2020. Teeing off on a 3-0 fastball, with a large lead, and the bases loaded is exactly the kind of thing baseball needs. No more of this “It hurts the pitcher’s feelings” nonsense or “that’s an unwritten rule.” Welcome to the Future. Let‘s not cry over moonshots.
Kevin Morin – Professional Athletes Supporting Black Lives Matter
After George Floyd was needlessly murdered, Jaylen Brown drove from Boston to Atlanta to lead in peaceful protests. About a month later, when the Premier League returned to play, every player had Black Lives Matter as their name on the back of their shirts, BLM patches on their sleeves, and took a knee before kickoff. The latter two are still happening to this day. The NBA did something similar upon their return, allowing each player to choose what kind of message they wanted on the back of their shirts. While this isn’t likely to be the championship teams, high scoring games, etc. that others may lean into, I believe the social platform these athletes have at their disposal has never been as apparent and respected as in 2020.
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