The biggest moments in sports often transcend the games themselves and become part of the fabric of society.
Each year, there are plays, moments, and events that become the biggest stories of the year, extending well beyond the field or court.
We searched back over the last 69 years to find the biggest sports story each year. Some of them are incredible plays and moments on the field, some of them are singular events that rocked the world, while others were stories that lasted weeks and even months, dominating the news cycle.
Here are the biggest sports stories from each year, starting in 1950.
The biggest sports story the year you were born
The biggest sports story the year you were born
1950: Yankees win second straight World Series as part of dominant, five-year run.
What happened: The Yankees beat the Philadelphia Phillies in a four-game sweep, winning their second straight World Series. The Yankees, with a team featuring all-time players like Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, and Phil Rizzuto, would go on to win the next three World Series, bringing their run to five straight, unmatched in any of the four major American sports.
1951: College basketball rocked by point-shaving scandal.
What happened: The scandal included seven schools, four in the New York area, and 32 people and extended to the organized crime world. Much of the point-shaving occurred during the 1949-50 season when the City College of New York Beavers won both the NIT and NCAA Tournaments, but the scandal came to light in 1951.
1952: Political tensions between the U.S. and USSR take over the 1952 Olympics.
What happened: The 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, Finland, were the first to involve the Soviet Union. USSR leaders requested that its athletes get separate lodging and attempted to keep athletes away from non-communists. The political tensions also created a heightened and palpable sense of competitiveness. The U.S. won a narrow medal count, 76-71, over the Soviet Union.
(Photo by Mark Kauffman/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images)
1953: Maureen Connolly wins four grand slams in one year.
What happened: Just 18 years old, Maureen "Little Mo" Connolly won the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbeldon, and U.S. Open, perhaps the most dominant single season in tennis history. She won a string of nine straight grand slams and 50 consecutive singles matches. Tragedy struck Connolly in 1954 when she got into a horse-riding accident that forced her to retire from tennis at just 19 years old.
(Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)
1954: Milan High School wins Indiana state basketball title
What happened: Milan high school, with an enrollment of just 161, became the smallest school to win the state title, beating the bigger Muncie Central High School. The win inspired the movie "Hoosiers."
(Photo by Mondadori via Getty Images)"
1955: Le Mans disaster kills 130 people.
What happened: During the 24 Hours of Le Mans motor race in Le Mans, France, two cars collided, with one going airborne and flying into the stands. An initial report from Life described the hood of the car as a "guillotine" going through the crowd, writing: "In a few searing seconds 82 people were dead and 76 were maimed." There is not an exact death toll, but it's believed to be 130, the worst accident in motorsports history.
1957: Notre Dame ends Oklahoma's 47-game win streak in football.
What happened: The Sooners won 47 straight games, from 1953 to November 1957. The Fighting Irish ended that streak on November 16, with a 7-0 win over Oklahoma. The Sooners went on to win all of their remaining games to win the Big Eight championship.
(Photo via Bettmann via Getty Images)
1958: The Baltimore Colts and New York Giants play "The Greatest Game Ever Played."
What happened: The 1958 NFL Championship game was the first playoff game to go to sudden-death overtime, with the Colts plunging into the end zone from the 1-yard line to win the game 23-17. The game, dubbed "The Greatest Game Ever Played," took place in Yankee Stadium and marked football's ascension as America's most popular sport.
(Photo by Robert Riger/Getty Images)
1959: Jacques Plante wears a face mask for the first time in a hockey game, changing equipment standards
What happened: Jacques Plante, the Montreal Canadiens goalie, had wanted to wear a face mask for protection, but his coach would not allow it. After taking a slapshot to the face in a November game against the New York Rangers, Plante returned to the ice in a mask, "stunning" the team and helping them win, hockey historian Stan Fischler said. It started a wave of masks in hockey, changing the game.
1960: Wilma Rudolph wins three gold medals at the 1960 Olympics and is dubbed "the fastest woman alive."
What happened: Rudolph had a bout with polio as a child that left her disabled in her left leg. She wore a brace on her leg until she was 8 but she overcame the effects of the disease to become a four-time medal winner and "the fastest woman alive."
1961: U.S. figure skating team killed in a plane crash on the way to World Championships.
What happened: All 18 members of the figure skating team were killed in a plane crash in Belgium. The team was on its way to the World Championships in Czechoslovakia. In total, all 72 people on the flight died in the accident.
1962: Wilt Chamberlain scores 100 points in a game.
What happened: Chamberlain scored an NBA record 100 points to help the Philadelphia Warriors beat the New York Knicks, 169-147. With Chamberlain's point total climbing, the Warriors began giving him the ball on every possession, then fouling the Knicks to stop the clock. No footage exists of the game.
(AP Photo/Paul Vathis, File)
1963: Margaret Court wins Australian Open for a fourth straight year and wins Wimbledon for the first time.
What to know: The Australian great had one of the greatest runs in the history of tennis, amassing 16 grand slams in the decade, including 12 from 1960-1965. She was also named Australian sportsman of the year in 1963.
(Photo by William Vanderson/Fox Photos/Getty Images)
1964: Cassius Clay beats Sonny Liston for the heavyweight championship
What to know: Clay (later known as Muhammad Ali) was a rising star in boxing. He famously declared he would "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" before the match. Clay beat Liston by technical knockout in seven rounds.
(Photo by Stanley Weston/Getty Images)
1965: Muhammad Ali beats Sonny Liston in the first round, and the most famous photo in sports is born.
What to know: Boxing authorities ordered a rematch between Ali (who changed his name shortly after beating Liston the first time) and Liston. This time, Ali knocked down Liston in the first round, then stood over him, yelling, creating what many consider the greatest photo in sports.
(AP Photo/John Rooney, File)
1966: Texas Western, with the first all-black starting five in college basketball, wins the NCAA Tournament.
What happened: The championship game between Kentucky and Texas Western (now called University of Texas at El Paso) featured the Wildcats' all-white starting lineup and the Miners' all-black starting lineup. Texas Western won with a disciplined, defensive game, reshaping many of the narratives around black athletes and teams. Their win inspired the movie "Glory Road."
1967: Muhammad Ali stripped of the heavyweight title for refusing to be inducted into the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.
What happened: In April of 1967, Ali refused to enter the U.S. Army, claiming he opposed the Vietnam War. Ali was stripped of his heavyweight title, sentenced to five years in jail (but let out on bail), and not allowed to work or box in America. Ali made public speaking appearances after his decision and became a symbol for civil rights. His license was later restored in 1970.
1968: Tommie Smith and John Carlos do the black power salute at the Mexico City Olympics.
What happened: Smith and Carlos, two Americans, won gold and bronze, respectively, in the 200-meter sprint at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. As they received their medals, they raised their fists, covered in black gloves, to do the black power salute. They also took off their shoes to protest black poverty and wore beaded necklaces and scarves to protest lynchings. Some people booed them as the national anthem played. They were ordered to leave the Olympic Stadium and suspended from the U.S. Track team.
(AP Photo, File)
1969: Jack Nicklaus' "Concession" creates the first tie at the Ryder Cup.
What happened: With the US and Great Britain tied going on the 18th hole on the final day of the Ryder Cup, Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin were putting for the win. After Nicklaus sank a four-foot putt to finish the hole, he picked up Jacklin's marker, about two feet from the hole, and according to Jacklin, said, "I don't believe you would have missed that but I'd never give you the opportunity in these circumstances." Some viewed "The Concession" as a great act of sportsmanship from Nicklaus while others thought it was an act of gamesmanship. It's the only tie in Ryder Cup history.
1970: Southern Airways Flight 932 crashes carrying the Marshall football team.
What happened: A flight from North Carolina to West Virginia carrying the Marshall University football team crashed into a hill, killing all 75 people on board, including the players, coaches, boosters, and more. It's considered one of the worst sports-related tragedies ever, and the team is still honored by Marshall today.
1971: Joe Frazier beats Muhammad Ali in "The Fight of the Century."
What happened: Ali, recently reinstated after losing his boxing title, fought Joe Frazier, marking the first fight between two undefeated heavyweights. Frazier won via unanimous decision in 15 rounds, setting up "Super Fight II" and the "Thrilla in Manila."
(AP Photo, File)
1972: The Munich Massacre rocks the Olympics.
What happened: On September 5, eight Palestinian terrorists sneaked into the Olympic village and broke into the apartment housing the Israeli athletes, killing two and holding nine others hostage. The terrorists later led the hostages to Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base, where a gunfight with police ensued. The remaining hostages and five of the terrorists were killed.
(AP Photo/Kurt Strumpf, File)
1973: Billie Jean King wins the "Battle of the Sexes."
What happened: After retired tennis pro Bobby Riggs beat Margaret Court in the first "Battle of the Sexes" in May 1973, he challenged Billie Jean King, a progressive icon in women's sports, to a match for $100,000. King won in three sets in front of a live audience of over 30,000 in Houston's Astrodome and a television audience estimated around 90 million, making it the most-watched tennis match ever and a cultural moment in the women's movement.
(Photo by Ann Limongello/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)
1974: Muhammad Ali wins "Rumble in the Jungle" over George Foreman.
What happened: Ali became the heavyweight champion of the world for the second time by knocking out the younger Foreman in eight rounds in Kinshasa, Zaire. Ali famously utilized the "rope-a-dope" strategy, letting Foreman wear himself out in the heat with huge punches while Ali waited on the ropes. Once Foreman tired out, Ali came out swinging and knocked Foreman out.
(Photo by Ken Regan /Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)
1975: Muhammad Ali beats Joe Frazier in a second rematch in "Thrilla in Manila."
What happened: Considered by some to be the greatest boxing match ever, Ali beat Frazier in their third and final bout in Manila, Philippines. A back-and-forth affair, both men gave the fight their all, until Frazier's trainer called the fight in the 14th round, telling Frazier: "It's all over. No one will ever forget what you did here today."
(Photo by Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)
1976: 28 African nations boycott the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.
What happened: Days before the 1976 Olympics, 28 African nations announced they would boycott the games. The nations cited the New Zealand rugby team's controversial tour of apartheid South Africa that summer, which was "in defiance of an informal but widely observed international athletics embargo on the country," according to The Atlantic's Armin Rosen.
What happened: Soccer legend Pele, considered the greatest soccer player ever, played his final match on October 1, as the New York Cosmos played Santos FC, Pele's first team. They won, 2-1, in Giants Stadium, in front of 77,000 fans.
(Photo by Peter Robinson/EMPICS via Getty Images)
1978: Jack Nicklaus completes third career grand slam at the U.S. Open
What happened: Nicklaus won the 1978 U.S. Open, becoming the first player to win each major three separate times. Tiger Woods is the only other golfer to achieve the same feat. Nicklaus was named Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated.
1979: Pittsburgh Steelers beat Dallas Cowboys, 35-31, in the Super Bowl.
What happened: The first-ever rematch in the Super Bowl, Super Bowl XIII is considered one of, if not the greatest Super Bowl ever. The Steelers built a 35-14 lead, only for the Cowboys to storm back but come up short. The game is also known for Cowboys tight end Jackie Smith dropping a wide-open touchdown.
1980: The U.S. beats the Soviet Union in the "Miracle on Ice."
What happened: Amid political tensions from the Cold War, the seventh-ranked U.S. men's hockey team pulled off a stunning, 4-3 upset in the semi-final over the Soviet Union, which had won the past four goal medals and had not lost a game since 1968. As the final buzzer sounded, Al Michaels famously yelled: "Do you believe in miracles? Yes!" Sports Illustrated later named it the greatest sports moment of the 20th century.
1981: John McEnroe melts down at Wimbledon, goes on to win the tournament.
What happened: "You CANNOT be serious!" is an iconic phrase in sports, thanks to John McEnroe. Known for his temper and dubbed "Superbrat" by the English tabloids, McEnroe had one of his most famous meltdowns early on at Wimbledon after an umpire ruled a ball out that McEnroe thought was in. McEnroe went on to win the tournament for the first time in his career.
(AP Photo/Adam Stoltman)
1982: Dwight Clark makes "The Catch."
What happened: Dwight Clark skied for the ball in the back of the end zone and came down with the NFC-Championship-winning touchdown so famous that it's been dubbed "The Catch." The 49ers would go on to win the Super Bowl and begin a dynasty that lasted through the '80s and into the '90s.
(Photo via Bettmann via Getty Images)
1983: North Carolina State wins the NCAA Tournament with a buzzer-beating dunk.
What happened: With the clock ticking down and the score tied in the NCAA Tournament championship, North Carolina State's Dereck Whittenburg attempted a game-winning, 30-foot heave that came up short. But Lorenzo Charles was underneath the rim for the buzzer-beating putback dunk to win the title. The scene is perhaps most well known for head coach Jim Valvano running around the court, looking for someone to hug.
1984: Mary Lou Retton scores perfect 10s to win the gold medal.
What happened: American gymnast Mary Lou Retton underwent knee surgery five weeks before the 1984 Olympics but recovered quickly enough to compete. Trailing Romania's Ecaterina Szabo in the all-around, with fears about Retton's knee surfacing, Retton scored two 10s in the balance beam and floor exercise to win gold. She was named Sports Illustrated's Sportswoman of the Year that year.
(AP Photo/Suzanne Vlamis, File)
1985: No. 8 Villanova knocks off No. 1 Georgetown in the NCAA Tournament.
What happened: Georgetown was the commanding team of the 1984-85 college basketball season, led by Patrick Ewing. But they met a scrappy underdog in 8th-seeded Villanova in the national championship and lost, 66-64. The 1985 Wildcats are the lowest seed to win the national championship, and the game remains the second-most-watched national championship game in history.
1986: Diego Maradona's "Hand of God" and "Goal of the Century" lift Argentina over England at the World Cup.
What happened: One of the most controversial goals in soccer history, in the quarterfinal of the 1986 World Cup, Maradona leaped in the air to compete for the ball against England's keeper and appeared to knock the ball in with his hand. A handball was not called, despite England's protests. The goal was later called the "Hand of God." Minutes later, Maradona dribbled through England's defense to score a second goal called "The Goal of the Century." Argentina would beat England and go on to win the World Cup.
(AP Photo/El Grafico, Buenos Aires, File)
1987: NFL players strike for 24 days as NFL teams hire replacements.
What happened: Fighting for better salaries, free agency, and severance, NFL players agreed to go on strike after Week 2 of the 1987 season. Week 3 was lost, but NFL teams then hired replacement players, some of whom were picked up off the street, for Weeks 3, 4, and 5. The striking players and replacement players were both met with scorn, and the strike ended in Week 7.
1988: Kirk Gibson hits walk-off home run in Game 2 of the World Series.
What happened: Hobbled by leg injuries, Los Angeles Dodgers star Kirk Gibson was called to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, with the Dodgers trailing 4-3 in Game 2. Gibson hit a walk-off home run and famously pumped his first as he limped around the bases. It was Gibson's only at-bat of the series, which the Dodgers won in five games.
(AP Photo/Rusty Kennedy, File)
1989: Pete Rose is barred from baseball over a betting scandal.
What happened: As the manager of the Cincinnati Reds, three years after retiring from baseball with the all-time hits record, Rose was banned for accusations that he bet on games he played in and managed. Rose claimed no wrongdoing at the time but was also barred from the Hall of Fame. He eventually confessed to betting on games in 2004.
(AP Photo/Al Behrman, File)
1990: Buster Douglas upsets Mike Tyson.
What happened: One of the biggest upsets in sports history, Douglas entered the fight against the unbeaten Tyson as a 42-1 underdog. In the 10th round, Douglas landed a series of blows to Tyson's head that knocked Tyson out for the first time in his career.
(AP Photo/Sadayuki Mikami, File)
1991: Magic Johnson announces he has HIV, retires from basketball
What happened: Johnson announced in November 1991 that he had contracted HIV and would be retiring from basketball. Johnson spoke openly about contracting the disease from having numerous heterosexual partners and committed to fighting it. He was voted into the 1992 All-Star Game, where the NBA decided to let him play, despite some players being concerned about contracting the disease. Johnson won the All-Star MVP that year.
(AP Photo/Mark Terrill)
1992: The Dream Team dominates the 1992 Olympics.
What happened: The 1992 Olympics in Barcelona were the first to feature NBA players, and the USA assembled perhaps the greatest roster ever: Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, John Stockton, Clyde Drexler, and more. The Dream Team routed its competition, beating opponents by a combined 350 points to win the gold medal.
(AP Photo/Susan Ragan, File)
1993: Chris Webber calls a timeout Michigan doesn't have.
What happened: In the final seconds of the national championship game between Michigan and North Carolina, the Wolverines' Chris Webber, he of Fab Five fame, attempted to call a timeout. Michigan was out of timeouts, so a technical foul was called. North Carolina hit the free throw to help seal the game. The error contributed to the Fab Five's downfall, and Webber left college for the NBA that spring. The error has become part of his legacy, though he has joked about it since.
(AP Photo/Susan Ragan, File)
1994: The Nancy Kerrigan-Tonya Harding rivalry boils over into scandal.
What happened: On January 6, 1994, U.S. figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was attacked after practice by a man carrying a baton. The hitman was revealed to be Shane Stant, who was contacted by fellow figure skater Tonya Harding's ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, and Harding's bodyguard Shawn Eckhardt. Harding denied involvement, but controversy swirled around her and Kerrigan in the 1994 Winter Olympics, where Kerrigan returned to win gold and Harding placed 8th because of skate issues. Harding later pleaded guilty to "conspiracy to hinder prosecution" and received three years probation and a $160,000 fine.
(Photo credit should read VINCENT AMALVY/AFP/Getty Images)
1995: O.J. Simpson is acquitted of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Lyle Goldman.
What happened: The trial into the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Lyle Goldman began in early 1995 and lasted nine months, until October 3, when jurors acquitted Simpson. The high-profile case was dubbed "The Trial of the Century."
(Photo credit should read POO/AFP/Getty Images)
1996: Kerri Strug wins gold on an injured ankle.
What happened: During the final event of the team all-around at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Strug fell and tore two ligaments in her ankle. However, she endured the pain for a second run to help the U.S. secure gold. Strug famously stuck her landing, then bounced to one foot, as her team carried her off with the first U.S. team all-around gold medal secured.
(Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)
1997: Mike Tyson bites Evander Holyfield's ear.
What happened: During the much-hyped rematch between Tyson and Holyfield, Tyson grew upset with what he felt was a headbutt by Holyfield in the second round. In the third round, when the two fighters became entangled, Tyson bit Holyfield's ear, drawing blood. The fight was allowed to continue. Tyson then tried to bite Holyfield again and was disqualified. The "Bite Fight" remains one of the most famous bouts in boxing history.
(Photo credit should read JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images)
1998: Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire battle in a home run chase.
What happened: MLB's full-season home run derby was one of the most compelling stories of the year, as both sluggers chased Roger Maris' record of 61 home runs in a season. McGwire eventually won, hitting 70, while Sosa hit 66. Sosa edged out McGwire for the NL MVP. McGwire later admitted to using steroids and many suspected Sosa of doing the same.
(Photo credit should read STEPHEN JAFFE/AFP/Getty Images)
1999: Brandi Chastain hits the World Cup-winning penalty kick, then creates an iconic celebration.
What happened: The 1999 Women's World Cup Final came down to penalty kicks between the U.S. and China. U.S. goalie Briana Scurry made a save that opened the window to give the U.S. the lead. Dour kicks later, Brandi Chastain sealed the win with a penalty kick. She ripped off her jersey to her sports bra in one of the most iconic celebrations ever.
(Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
2000: The Titans beat the Bills in the "Music City Miracle."
What happened: With 16 seconds remaining in the Wild Card game, the Titans received a kickoff from the Bills, trailing 16-15. Lorenzo Neal handed the ball off to Frank Wycheck, who then lateralled it to Kevin Dyson. Dyson then took the ball the length of the field to score the game-winning touchdown in what became known as the "Music City Miracle."
(Photo by Allen Kee/Getty Images)
2001: Dale Earnhardt Sr. dies in a crash at Daytona 500.
What happened: On the final lap of Daytona 500, Dale Earnhardt crashed head-on into the retainer wall. Earnhardt's death was the fourth in an eight-month span in NASCAR and resulted in highly publicized changes to make the sport safer.
2002: The "Tuck Rule" and Adam Vinatieri help the Patriots make their first Super Bowl.
What happened: In a snowy AFC Championship now known as the "Snow Bowl," Tom Brady was sacked by the Oakland Raiders and appeared to fumble the ball. However, officials reviewed the play and determined Brady was going to throw the ball and tucked it in when he got hit, ruling it an incomplete pass instead. The Patriots moved into field goal range, where Adam Vinatieri kicked the game-winning field goal to send the Patriots to the Super Bowl, which they won, the first of the Brady-Bill Belichick era.
(Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
2003: Steve Bartman deflects foul ball in the NLCS.
What happened: In the eighth inning of Game 6 of the NLCS, the Marlins' Luis Castillo hit a foul ball toward left field. As the Cubs' Moises Alou reached for the ball, Cubs fan Steve Bartman knocked the ball away, costing the Cubs a second out in the inning. The Cubs ended up giving up eight runs in the inning and lost. They then lost the series in Game 7, as Bartman became something of a scapegoat n Chicago.
(AP Photo/Morry Gash)
2004: The Boston Red Sox rally from a 3-0 deficit in ALCS to beat the Yankees, then win the World Series.
What happened: The Red Sox became the first team in MLB history to come back from a 3-0 deficit, knocking off their bitter rivals in the process. The Red Sox' run was littered with famous moments, like Alex Rodriguez slapping the ball out of Bronson Arroyo's hand, Curt Schilling's bloody sock, David Ortiz's walk-off, and several extra innings. The Red Sox then swept the Cardinals in the World Series to end an 86-year championship drought.
(AP Photo/Al Behrman)
2005: Lance Armstrong wins seventh straight Tour de France.
What happened: Armstrong continued perhaps the most dominant streak in sporting history, winning a seventh straight Tour de France in 2005, all after returning from cancer. Armstrong said it would be his last Tour. His wins were later disqualified after a doping investigation.
(AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)
2006: Zinedine Zidane headbutts Marco Materazzi in the World Cup final.
What happened: Zinedine Zidane won the Golden Ball award and scored the opening goal of the World Cup final between France and Italy, but his performance is best remembered for his headbutt. Italy's Marco Materazzi later revealed he made an off-color comment about Zidane's sister, which provoked the headbutt. Zidane was kicked off the field for the foul, and Italy won. The final was Zidane's last game. He was initially criticized in the French press, but later received a warm welcome when he returned to France.
(Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)
2007: Barry Bonds sets the all-time home run record.
What happened: Six years after setting the single-season home run record, Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron's record by hitting the 756th home run of his career. Bonds was embroiled in steroid controversies for the latter part of his career, leading some to believe his record should come with an asterisk. He finished his career with 762 home runs.
(Digital First Media Group/Contra Costa Times via Getty Images)
2008: Michael Phelps dominates the 2008 Olympics.
What happened: With six Olympic medals to his name already, Michael Phelps reached international fame with the most dominant Olympics of all-time. Phelps won eight gold medals — every event he participated. However, the most famous image of Phelps' 2008 Olympics may have been celebrating his teammate Jason Lezak out-touching France in the 4x100m relay.
(Photo by Phil Hillyard/Newspix/Getty Images)
2009: Tiger Woods' infidelity scandal threatens his career
What happened: What began as a car accident in the early hours of November 27, 2009, soon blew up into a major scandal, as the extent of Tiger Woods' infidelity was revealed. On December 11, Woods announced he was taking a break from golf to focus on his marriage and family. In February 2010, Woods confessed to having extra-marital affairs. He returned to golf in March 2010.
(Photo by Justin Lubin/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
2010: LeBron James' "Decision" rocks the NBA world.
What happened: Perhaps the biggest free agent in NBA history, James announced in a televised special that he would "take his talents" to Miami to form a Big 3 with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. James and the Heat became instant villains, as James was criticized for "The Decision" and a welcoming ceremony where James proclaimed they would win "not one, not two, not three, not four..." championships. They lost the 2010-11 Finals to the Dallas Mavericks.
(Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
2011: The Penn State child sex abuse scandal breaks.
What happened: In November 2011, former Penn State football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was arrested on charges that he sexually abused eight young boys. The number grew over time, as more cases came forward. Several high-ranking Penn State officials were accused of failing to properly notify authorities, including legendary football coach Joe Paterno, who stepped down as coach, inciting riots from Penn State students.
(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
2012: Jeremy Lin explodes in "Linsanity."
What happened: Injury depleted and desperate, the New York Knicks gave Jeremy Lin, their bench-warmed point guard, a shot to prove himself. Lin exploded, putting up All-Star numbers while leading the Knicks on an eight-game winning streak. All of it came days before the Knicks had planned to cut Lin. With each performance seemingly more impressive than the last, Lin's international fame grew, as he saved the Knicks' season. Lin tore his meniscus and missed the end of the season.
(AP Photo/Darren Abate, File)
2013: Boston Marathon bombing kills three and injures hundreds.
What happened: On April 15, two bombs detonated near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The explosion killed three and injured hundreds of others. A wild manhunt ensued over the next several days that included a shootout that killed one of the suspects, while the other was later detained.
(AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)
2014: Donald Sterling is forced to sell the Clippers and barred from the NBA for making racist comments.
What happened: In April of 2014, TMZ obtained audio of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling making racist comments to his then-girlfriend. After the audio came out, several NBA owners came out against Sterling, while Clippers players protested during the playoffs by wearing their warm-ups inside out. Other NBA players threatened to sit out games while sponsors threatened to drop the NBA. Sterling was barred from the NBA and forced to sell the Clippers.
(AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
2015: Floyd Mayweather Jr. beats Manny Pacquiao in the much-hyped bout.
What happened: The two best boxers of a generation finally faced off on May 2, 2015, after years of start-and-stop negotiations. The fight turned out to be a disappointment, however, as Mayweather's defensive style didn't allow for many big hits. Mayweather won by decision, though the fight was widely criticized. It was later reported that Pacquiao fought injured, and there may have been a mole in his camp. The fight still owns the biggest PPV in boxing history.
(AP Photo/John Locher, File)
2016: Ryan Lochte and U.S. swimmers' robbery story takes a twist.
What happened: At the 2016 Rio Olympics, U.S. swim star Ryan Lochte said he and three other American swimmers were robbed at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro. However, it was later revealed that Lochte and the three swimmers fabricated the story and had gotten into a confrontation with a gas station owner after being rowdy in the gas station and possibly breaking several items. What followed was a wild international news story, including reports of Lochte potentially being imprisoned in Brazil, the U.S. swimmers being taken off a plane by police while trying to leave Brazil, and Lochte giving a primetime interview with Matt Lauer about what really happened.
(AP Photo/Michael Sohn, File)
2017: NFL players kneel in protest of President Donald Trump and social injustice.
What happened: By 2017, Colin Kaepernick's protest of social injustice by kneeling during the national anthem was well-known and covered. However, US President Donald Trump re-ignited the controversy by saying players who kneel during the anthem should be fired. The comments sparked league-wide protests, with entire NFL teams kneeling during anthems, including some team owners who supported Trump. The protests also created internal chaos in the NFL, as the league and owners tried to sort out how to handle protests, angry fans, and sponsors threatening to drop the league.
(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
2018: Larry Nassar sentenced to jail on sexual assault charges in U.S. Gymnastics scandal.
What happened: Former U.S. Gymnastics and Michigan State doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in jail for sexual assault charges after more than 100 women gave victim-impact statements in court about Nassar sexually abusing them, many of them when they were minors. The scandal shook U.S. Gymnastics, with many of the country's top gymnasts coming out against the organization and its structure.
(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)
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