Script written by Spencer Sher Top 10 Iconic North American Sports Moments of the 2010s Just because it happened recently doesn’t mean it isn’t iconic.
Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Iconic North American Sports Moments of the 2010s.
For this list, we’ll be focusing exclusively on North American athletes and events, including events taking place in America, or involving a North American athlete on foreign soil.
#10: Colin Kaepernick Takes a Knee August 26, 2016 Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit and later kneel during the pregame national anthem was one of the most divisive events in NFL history.
It all started during a 2016 preseason game when Kaepernick was spotted sitting on the bench during the national anthem.
Protesting against racial injustice in America, he told reporters, "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” The decision was highly controversial, eliciting both positive and negative responses from players, owners, fans and even the President of the United States.
#9: The Decision July 8, 2010 After the conclusion of the 2009-2010 NBA season, LeBron James, the NBA’s biggest superstar, was set to hit free agency.
To add further intrigue and attention to James, his management and ESPN agreed to produce and air “The Decision”, an hour long live event where James would answer several questions about how he came to decide which team to play for and then subsequently announce his decision.
After eventually declaring his intentions to sign with the Miami Heat, the moment marked the beginning of a new era where athletes have the authority to decide which team they want to play on.
In turn, the idea of assembling a superteam, a concept that sports fans could once only dream of, was now a reality.
#8: Malcolm Butler Clinches Super Bowl XLIX February 1, 2015 This moment had everything you’d want in an iconic Super Bowl play: it was skillful, spectacular, and completely unexpected.
The Seattle Seahawks were on the cusp of winning their second consecutive title, and had driven all the way down to the Patriots’ one-yard line as the game wound down.
But instead of running the ball, the Seahawks opted to pass; a decision many felt was a mistake based on howMarshawn Lynch had been running the ball all game.
Rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler jumped the route, and picked off the ball at the goal line.
The play stunned the sports world, and gave Tom Brady and the Patriots their fourth Super Bowl title.
#7: Sid the Kid’s Golden Goal February 28, 2010 The gold medal hockey game between Canada and the United States was the final event of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
After playing to a 2-2 tie through three periods, the game went to overtime.
Seven minutes and 40 seconds into OT, Sidney Crosby received a pass from Jarome Iginla deep in the American zone, burying it past goaltender Ryan Miller.
With two thirds of the Canadian population watching, the game instantly became a watershed moment for the country’s sporting history.
The goal, which helped Canada break the Olympic record for gold medals won at a single Winter Games, turned Sidney Crosby into a national hero and put Canada back on top of the hockey world.
#6: Michael Phelps Becomes the Most Decorated Olympian Ever July 31, 2012 American swimmer Michael Phelps began his Olympic career at the tender age of 15, when he qualified for the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
He may not have medalled that year, but boy did he ever make up for it over the next four Games.
In Athens, he took home eight medals; six of them gold.
In Beijing, he took home another eight medals; this time, all gold.
Next up was London, where he won his record-breaking 18th gold medal and 22nd medal overall, making him the most decorated Olympian of all time.
He’d return in 2016 to win six more medals in Rio de Janeiro, finishing his career with a whopping 28 overall.
#5: The New England Patriots overcome a 28-3 deficit to win Super Bowl LI February 5, 2017 Trailing behind 28-3 against the Atlanta Falcons at halftime, a win seemed out of reach for the New England Patriots.
But as we’ve learned time and time again, never count Tom Brady and the Patriots out.
The team went on to score 17 unanswered points and keep the Falcons from scoring any points altogether.
The defining moment came during the fourth quarter when Tom Brady attempted a pass to wide receiver Julian Edelman in the middle of the field.
The ball was tipped into the air, and Edelman and three Falcons descended on it.
Somehow, Edelman made the catch.
The play proved decisive, as the Patriots would later score to force overtime and go on to win the game, completing the greatest comeback in Superbowl history.
#4: The Toronto Raptors win their first NBA Title June 14, 2019 Over the past decade, the Toronto Raptors have cemented themselves as one of the NBA’s most talented rosters.
Unfortunately, they’ve often come up just short of making it to a final.
After trading fan favorite DeMar DeRozan to the San Antonio Spurs and acquiring Kawhi Leonard in 2018, the team was primed to make a playoff run.
And boy did they do just that.
Along with beating the best teams in the East (which included an unforgettable buzzer beater) and convincingly defeating the Golden State Warriors, arguably the NBA’s most stacked roster, The Toronto Raptors were able to finally capture their first title.
It was a victory not only for the city of Toronto, but the entire country of Canada.
#3: Tiger Woods wins the 2019 Masters April 14, 2019 Tiger Woods was once considered the greatest golfer of all time.
But after several well-documented issues which included affairs and a 2017 arrest, many questioned if Tiger Woods could ever go back to being the dominant player he once was.
However, he erased any doubts after winning the 2019 Masters.
Outplaying his opponents and avoiding mistakes throughout the tournament, what made the victory even sweeter was that he started the last day two shots behind.
From successfully putting his last hole, lifting his arms in victory and then embracing his children, Tiger was back and it’s a moment we’ll never forget.
#2: LeBron James Wins Cleveland’s first NBA Title June 19, 2016 When LeBron James left Cleveland in 2010 to chase NBA championships in Miami, he was criticized for abandoning both the Cavaliers and his hometown.
So when he returned in 2015 with two titles under his belt, expectations were running high.
After cruising through the first three rounds of the 2016 playoffs, they met a familiar foe in the finals: the Golden State Warriors.
Golden State had set a regular season record with 73 wins, and being up 3-1 in the series, they were considered heavy favorites to repeat as champs.
However, with LeBron leading the way, it was Cleveland’s turn for glory.
After producing a slew of huge plays, including an epic Game 7 block, James led the comeback and brought the city of Cleveland its first title in 52 years.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions: Derek Jeter Hits a Walk-Off Single In His Final Game at Yankee Stadium September 25, 2014 Kobe Bryant Scores 60 points in Final Game April 13, 2016 Philly Special February 4, 2018 Simone Biles dominates the 2016 Olympics August 11, 2016 #1: The Chicago Cubs Win the World Series November 2, 2016 It may have taken 108 years, but on November 2nd, 2016, the Chicago Cubs finally got the monkey off their back.
Having suffered through decades of blown opportunities, costly mistakes and Steve Bartman, the Cubs met the Cleveland Indians in the 2016 World Series – who just so happened to be sporting their own lengthy championship drought.
Expectations couldn’t have been higher, and when the Indians jumped out to a 3-1 series lead, history seemed to be repeating itself.
However, the Cubs slowly clawed their way back into the series, and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a thrilling Game 7 victory.
The drought was finally over.