We once received our news via newspapers, then television and now in 2014, Twitter.
Twitter and sports were meant to be. Part of spectating nowadays, nationally televised or not, involves Twitter. People at the game are tweeting, people watching from their couch or a bar are tweeting, those who cover the individual teams are tweeting. You get the point.
So naturally we judge the magnitude of an event based off of how twitter is reacting, especially in sports. No matter who you may follow, when your twitter timeline is filled with tweets talking about the same event, you know something pretty big is going on.
The following are moments that took Twitter by storm (You could say all the memorable moments in sports the past year did, but these are the ones that were heavily reported and followed, by me at least.)
Seattle vs. San Francisco, NFC Championship Game + Richard Sherman
We all remember that this happened:
That sound bite alone broke Twitter, Richard Sherman let loose after a huge win and Erin Andrews didn’t know what to do, it was pure emotion and pure entertainment.
Yet the game as well provided nearly four hours of everything and anything you could ask for in a playoff game in the NFL. Two division rivals that play such similar styles of football. Colin Kaepernick once upon a time was considered the most dangerous player in the NFL and was a nightmare to deal with for any defense, even for the ‘Hawks D. I mean, how do you defend this?
Two physical defenses that many considered to be the best in the league, Russell Wilson making big play after big play, and you cannot forget about the scene, the loudest stadium in the NFL breaking decibel records on what seemed like every down. This type of game doesn’t come along every season, or maybe even five years. Guys were laying it on the line and not caring about anything else.
49ers Linebacker Navarro Bowman tore his ACL stripping Seahawks WR Jermaine Kearse of the ball and recovered it too at the goal line changing the course of the game until the the call was eventually reversed and given back to Seattle on now what is a new NFL rule. Remarkably, Russell Wilson fumbled the following snap on fourth-and-goal and the Niners recovered the ball, pandemonium ensued, and the play sent a shockwave of “Ball Don’t Lie” tweets on Twitter.
Naturally, the game came down to the final drive and the last three minutes where Kaepernick and the Niners offense marched down the field against one of the best defenses ever (can’t be stressed enough how electric this guy was before this season) again, and would come down to the final play.
Easily one of the best games of the past decade. Tough, physical, freakish athleticism and everything else that football is losing (besides the athleticism) each year due to new personal foul calls to protect players. RIP 2014 NFC Championship game, you were one of a kind.
“Banned For Life”
It’s no secret that racism sadly reared its ugly head to a nationwide degree again in 2014. Between protests and police violence, the NBA, a league with a higher percentage of African-Americans than any other in American pro sports would have an unprecedented situation on their hands.
Donald Sterling was known by many for being a delusional, racist and an unforgiving man. Yet many who were his employees would keep quite, fearing they would lose their job if they decided to speak. His much younger girlfriend V. Stiviano recorded Sterling talking as if he was a plantation owner back in the early 1800’s. The tapes which TMZ would later reveal, recorded a man completely unaware of the destructive and racist remarks he was saying, regardless if he was in the privacy of his own home.
Sterling also owned the Clippers at the time, who were in the midst of a playoff run with high hopes of making it to the Finals. When the tapes were released to the public and became a national debacle, the NBA had to make a decision (Meanwhile head coach Doc Rivers became the de-facto owner and leader of the day-today operations of the Clippers, as well as figuring out how to stop Steph Curry and the Golden State offense) specifically Commissioner Adam Silver, who was only three months or so into his tenure in the position.
Silver took action in the most direct route he could, banning Sterling for life and fining him $2.5 million (all the money went towards anti-discrimination organizations) the maximum the league rules allow him to. NBA players, especially Clippers players, coaches and everyone involved in the organization and even those not directly associated with the NBA, took to Twitter praising the commissioner for getting rid of a man whose thoughts and ideas had no business in the NBA and in today’s society in general.
Silver is now already one of the most renowned and respected commissioners in sports history, instead of making a decision with money and sponsorship deals on his mind, he did what was morally right and best for all involved, a fresh change for how commissioners are perceived when making decisions for their respective leagues.
In a year where issues of racism and discrimination flared across the country, the NBA and Adam Silver were at the forefront of combatting the problem and moving forward without it.
It’s rare to see a sport’s best player leave his team, let alone his hometown team, for a different one. LeBron has now moved twice. At first it seemed like a forgone conclusion that he, Wade and Bosh would stay in Miami. Four years, Four Finals appearances, two NBA Championships, why jump ship?
Then it all started to unravel, gradually you saw it coming, believed that it was going to happen a little bit more each day. LeBron back to Cleveland? After how the fans have treated him since leaving for Miami? They burned his jersey, cussed at him whenever they had the chance and called their hometown kid a traitor. Still, LeBron had a vision of returning to his hometown and giving them a championship they desperately desired.
When NBA free agency tips off on July 1st, usually things happen rapidly, as in when the clock strikes midnight teams start making moves. But no one did anything, besides a few under-the-radar signings and Melo touring Chicago, Houston and LA, everyone was waiting on LeBron to make his move, because his decision would impact the entire landscape of the NBA. More than a week passed, then on morning of July 11th, it was like everything had completely stopped in sports:
With the World Cup reaching the closing stages of the tournament, usually the world is consumed by that. Not this summer. LeBron going back to Cleveland made people in Ohio leave work to celebrate on the streets, flip to any news channel, not just ESPN and even they were covering the story. And of course anyone with a right to 140 characters was tweeting about it.
Ever since LeBron was in high school, he was a national media darling, given the title “The Chosen One” when he was only a Senior. Ever since social media became relevant, he has become the athlete most associated with it and for the most part has handled it better than anyone of his magnitude. Yes, “The Decision” should have never happened and was overkill, but his letter in Sports Illustrated proclaiming he was going back to Cleveland to finish what he had started was the perfect beginning of the biggest sports story of the year.
Coming up next in Part 3, The moments you couldn’t stop watching in 2014.