Every sports fan has watched tape of some seminal, iconic moment and wished they could have been there. Certain images stand out of the millions of hours of sports footage. I have been blessed to see some fantastic events in person and far more on television, but there are dozens I would pay a fortune to have seen live. Here are my top 5:
5) “Shot on Ehlo”
Any number of Michael Jordan clips deserved this spot. But the combination of greatest player, classic contest, iconic shot, and turning point in a career puts this one over the top. Young Jordan, under heavy criticism from Chicago sports writers comes out and dominates the favored Cleveland Cavaliers sealing the series with this iconic jumper.
4) Rumble in the Jungle
I am not a boxing fan, but if I had been alive in the 60s and 70s I might have been. Everything about this fight was iconic. The aging Muhammad Ali regained his heavy weight title from the greatly feared and much much younger George Foreman in the tropical heat of Zaire in a truly epic fight of contrasting styles. Even the behind the scenes drama of Don King’s promotional madness adds to the legend.
3) Games 6 & 7 of the ’91 World Series
I’m cheating a bit here by picking two games, but since the legendary Jack Buck ended game six with my favorite baseball call of all time, “And we’ll see you tomorrow night!” it only makes sense to make them a single moment. Kirby Puckett robs Ron Gant at the wall, Kirby Puckett walks it off with a home run of Charlie Liebrandt, Jack Morris pitches 10 innings of shut out ball, and the Twins win game 7 in extra innings. I have shivers just thinking about it.
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2) The miracle on ice
“Do you believe in miracles? Yes!” Al Michaels call stands as one of the most memorable in history. An underdog United States olympic hockey team of college players manages to upset the untouchable, undefeatable, U.S.S.R. This Soviet team had beaten a team of NHL all stars 6-0 and gone 5-3-1 against actual NHL squads. They were ridiculously good. It was a hockey game and a cold war stand off. Oh, and then the U.S. had to beat Finland to win the gold medal.
1) Jackie Robinson’s first game
In baseball history, no game has had more significance than this one, yet few actually know its date – April 15, 1947. That was when the color barrier was broken by a great man and fantastic ball player. He changed baseball forever in he face of the most intense scrutiny, hatred, and pressure – all while playing at a level higher than almost any of his contemporaries. I don’t think of athletes as heroes, but I do think of Jackie Robinson that way. That’s why his first game is first on my list.
What sporting events do you wish you could have attended?