It’s safe to say that the 2010s was another great decade for unforgettable sports moments. With many records broken, so many stars emerged and so many champions were crowned across many different sports — sports that we love, watch and even play ourselves.
There were countless sports moments from the start of 2010 to the end of 2019 that have made highlight reels on YouTube and will forever be stuck in our minds through the test of time. The start of sports in the 2020s has unfortunately been put on pause for the foreseeable future, but this gives us plenty more time to revisit and reflect on all of the historic and memorable sports moments from this past decade. It’s nearly impossible to decide a top 10 out of this deep sea of moments without a huge debate. So instead, here are 10 of the biggest sports moments from the 2010s that we’ll never, ever forget!
1. Cleveland, This Is For You! (2016)
The greatest moment for the greatest player of his generation was a lock to make this list.
Finding themselves down 3-1 in the best-of-seven series to the Golden State Warriors, a team that won an NBA record 73 games during the regular season, the Cleveland Cavaliers, along with the rest of the world, thought the series was over. But LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and the rest of the team never gave up on their goal. The two stars put the city of Cleveland on their backs and seemingly willed the team all the way to a decisive game 7 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.
It was here that one of the most iconic sports moments of the decade occurred. In the final minute of a back-and-forth tie game, the Warriors were on the fast break looking to take the lead, when LeBron soared to impossible heights to send the shot off the backboard. James’ unbelievable defensive play eventually led to a dagger 3-pointer from Kyrie Irving, and against all odds, the Cavaliers became the first team in NBA Finals history to overcome a 3-1 deficit (against the most winning team in NBA history, mind you) to win the title, and LeBron helped bring a the franchise’s first championship to his hometown of Cleveland.
The significance of this series already holds so much weight in where it stands among the greatest the league has ever seen, but it was one of Bron’s historically clutch block that ultimately helped him and the Cavs win it all and will be a sports moment we’ll never forget!
2016 NBA Finals Game 7 Highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mxv5h-RZWVs
2. Cubs End Century Of Sorrow (2016)
The Chicago Cubs are one of the more well known team in the big leagues, but were also a team was not well known for being a championship team. In fact, the last time the Cubs hoisted a World Series trophy was in ’08 — 1908, that is. 108 years without a title. Yikes.
The Cubs played game after game and season after season without earning an MLB title. In 2016, with a young core of star players led by Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, the Cubs saw their best chance since the typewriter to be king’s of the diamond, but they’d have to get through a tough Cleveland Indians ballclub to do it.
After being shutout in two of the first three games and finding themselves in a 3-1 hole, the loaded offense of the Cubs finally came alive just in time to force a game 7 at Wrigley Field in Chicago. With the steaks at their highest, and both teams looking to end several decade long droughts (the Indians hadn’t won a world series since 1948), each player dug their deepest, knocking clutch hits and slugging home runs when their team needed it most, including Rajai Davis’ huge 2-run homer on one of the best closers in the league at the bottom of the eight inning (with two outs!) to help Cleveland tie game 7 at 6-6.
The game was sent to extra innings, where a couple of base hits in the tenth inning proved to be just enough for the Cubbies to come out big winner for the first time in over a century.
Both teams were looking to end dreadful championship droughts, and whoever came out on top would have made this one of the better sports moments of the 2010s, but for it to all come down to a game 7 makes it one of the decade’s most significant moments of all.
2016 MLB World Series Game 7 Highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdtu2pAn-HM
3. Tiger Triumphs Once Again (2019)
No matter how well or how poor he’s played over the last decade, and even while he spent time away from the sport, Tiger Woods has remained the face of golf for nearly two decades. Even after going a decade without a major tournament win, and even after falling hundreds of spots from the number one ranking in the world, Tiger Woods has consistently been the first name that comes to mind when you think of golf.
But when Tiger Woods was struggling for a handful with injuries, both personal matters and his own play, golf just never felt the same. So when we got to see Tiger getting back to being Tiger toward the end of 2018, the excitement and interest in golf was coming back all over again. Woods slowly starting finding his groove tournament after tournament, finally winning a tournament for the first time in five years at the Tour Championship in September of 2018 was nothing but memorable.
Woods continued knocking on the door at following tournaments, and found himself on the door step of a couple of major tournament wins for the first time since 2008, but couldn’t pull through on the final day.
Then came the magical Master’s Tournament of 2019, an event where Tiger finally put it all together. His drive shots were strong, his puts were on point, and most importantly, his swagger was back. The energy of the golf crowd was finally back, and it was all because of Tiger Woods.
After years of struggle, nobody imagined that Woods could return to form and win another major, and if the 2019 Master’s turns out to be his last, what a memorable sports moment it was for us all.
Tiger Wins The 2019 Masters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8UL23m1qQY
4. Show Me The Mo’ne! (2014)
2014 was the year that one 13-year-old girl shut down all of the assumptions that boys were superior athletes to girls.
Mo’ne Davis might not have been the first girl to play in the little leagues, but she became the first African American female to participate, and one could argue was the best and undoubtedly most electrifying of all the women to ever grace the annual baseball tournament.
Even though her team didn’t win it all in the end, Mo’ne was the highlight of the whole tournament. Leading her team as a pitcher, she carried her team to the Little League World Series with a shutout win in the qualifying game, and opened the big tournament with an 8 strike out, 0 walk complete game shutout win against Tennessee. She then followed it up with an RBI double the following game against Texas.
Of course, it was her previously mentioned historic performance against the team from Nashville that turned a notably good pitcher into a national phenomenon overnight. Many figures from the sports world and tons of people around the country became huge supporters, and the buzz around the Little League World Series was greater than ever before.
Her team didn’t go on to win the little league title in the summer of 2014, but Mo’ne Davis became America’s champion after putting together one of the most epic performances and creating one of the most unforgettable sports moments of the decade.
Mo’ne Davis Shuts Out Nashville: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SL8o9OA30c0
5. Super Nova Shot For The Natty (2016)
If this list has shown us anything so far, its that 2016 was truly a hell of a year for sports moments. This is yet another one we’ll never forget from the sweet ’16.
Speaking of sweet 16’s, this sports moment comes from the nail-biting 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament championship between the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Villanova Wildcats.
The ingredients to a perfect championship game would consist of the the best two teams playing at their highest level right down to the final moments with all the pressure mounting and everything they’ve worked for all season on the line. On the night of the 2016 NCAA men’s basketball championship, Villanova and North Carolina brought all of these to the kitchen and showed exactly what March madness is all about.
Big shot after big shot, the gain stayed neck and neck throughout, and on the final possession, it was the Wildcats that had the last shot. With under five seconds remaining, the ‘Cats pushed the ball the length of the floor, with Ryan Arcidiacono flipping the ball back to Kris Jenkins who rose up, with one second left from three point land, and sunk a buzzer beating shot that blew up the building almost literally.
Relive what so many are calling the greatest finish to any college basketball game ever with your own eyes:
2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship Highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFKZ84aV-qw
6. 28-3 (2017)
We all know what I mean when I saw 28-3, right? I sure hope so.
There’s no question that Super Bowl LI (51) between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons was one of the best sports moments of the 2010s, because it easily ranks as one of the best Super Bowls in NFL history.
This game started far from great for the Patriots, as the Falcons’ explosive offense, led by MVP Matt Ryan, scorched them from the start of the second quarter and ran into halftime with 21 points to New England’s 3. Atlanta would add another score to boost their lead to 28-3 midway through the third quarter, and their blowout victory over Tom Brady looked to be slowly reaching its inevitable finish.
But if Tom Brady, a 4-time Super Bowl champion, had shown us anything throughout his career, its that you can never, ever count him out of any game.
Chunk by chunk, Brady led the Patriots down the field, and a few minutes later the team had finally scored their first touchdown of the game. New England’s defense would finally step up (or Atlanta’s offense would fall apart) and soon, the Patriots would find the end zone again and added a 2-point conversion to somehow pull within 8 with less than five minutes to go. With one more crucial stop from the defense, Tom Brady took the field once more, and like he had so many times before, engineered a remarkable scoring drive with a 2-point conversion to somehow, someway tie the game at 28 with under a minute in regulation.
New England completely took over from the third quarter onward, and with momentum firmly in hand, the offense took the opening drive of the first overtime in Super Bowl history to finish off one of the greatest comebacks in all of sports history.
Super Bowl LI Highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zC0Iswf-u-0
7. Simone Biles Strikes Gold (2016)
The 2016 Rio Olympics saw a handful of great performances from some of the top athletes on the face of the earth, but one athlete flipped her way above all the rest and into the pantheon of all-time greatness.
That athlete was Simone Biles, a United States gymnast who came into the Rio games with a ton of buzz surrounding her. She had been on fire in prior competitions, but the Olympics was the grandest stage of them all. And under the brightest lights and in front of the entire world, Biles shined at her brightest.
Teaming up with a star studded group of gymnasts deemed “the last five,” Biles and the United States obliterated the team competition en route to her first gold medal as an Olympian. As the competition wore on, Biles continue to display her superior strength and dazzling abilities by winning a gold in the individual all-around, vault and floor exercise events.
Biles became just the fifth female in Olympic history to win four gold medals, and was nearly the first female to secure five, but a stumble in the balance beam event cost her. Still, her performance was compelling enough to earn her a bronze medal and still make her five-for-five on the medal stand in Rio and forever cementing her as one of the greatest Olympic performers ever for the United States and in the world.
Simone Biles Rio 2016 Gold Medal Floor Routine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yC3zLvDs2AA
8. Ray Allen’s Shot Heard Around The World (2013)
Clutch plays are always great moments in sports, but clutch plays during the final seconds of a championship game make for some of the best sports moments.
And to be honest, there shouldn’t have been a shot for the Miami Heat to create one of the greatest sports moments of the decade. I mean, the San Antonio Spurs were an extremely savvy team loaded with NBA all-time great in Tim Duncan, a ton of veterans led by Tony Parker and Manu Ginóbili, and an emerging star in Kawhi Leonard on their roster. Despite playing the Miami Heat, perhaps the NBA’s most star-studded team led by superstars LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, the Spurs still found themselves up 3-2 in the best-of-seven series and held a 4-point lead late into the fourth quarter. All the Spurs needed to do was knock down free throws and the title was theirs.
The writing seemed to be on the wall. The Heat were down by 10 to start the fourth quarter and down two possessions in the last 30 seconds, fans were heading for the exits early and the championship ceremony security team had their workers around the court with the ropes ready to enclose the Spurs at center court as they were honored with their fifth NBA championship. But after Manu Ginóbili, a usually excellent free throw shooter, clanked on the first of two from the line, LeBron went on to make a 3-pointer to cut it to 2. Kawhi Leonard, another accurate free throw shooter, would go to the line to ice it, but he too missed one of his two free throws, leaving the door open with a 3-point lead.
With no timeouts, the Heat had to push the ball in a hurry. LeBron took a shot to be the hero and tie the game, but couldn’t shot. Luckily, a big rebound by Chris Bosh saved the possession. And then, in a mad scramble to get back to the three point line, Ray Allen, the NBA’s current all-time leading 3-point shooter, did what he does best.
The crowd’s reaction to this magnificent, improbable season saving shot by Allen said it all:
Ray Allen’s Clutch Game 6 Three: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tr6XsZVb-ZE
9. Mississippi State Ends Longest Streak In College Basketball History (2017)
The UConn Huskies women’s basketball team of the mid 2010s was one of the most dominant teams in the entire history of sports. The program strung together 90 consecutive wins from 2008 to 2011, winning back-to-back NCAA titles in ’09 and ’10. As crazy as that all sounds, this wasn’t even their greatest feat.
Entering a final four matchup against Mississippi State Bulldogs in 2017, the Huskies were looking to extend their 111 (one hundred eleven!) game winning streak, by far the longest streak in the history of college basketball — men’s or women’s.
Make no mistake, Mississippi State was really good, but in comparison to the greatest program in women’s college basketball, they were huge underdogs in this game. But the national tournament is all about heart, and on this night, the Bulldogs oozed it. They never got rattled and stuck to their game plan, taking as big as a 16-point lead, but UConn’s talent willed them back into the game. And from the third quarter on, the game became nothing short of a dog fight.
After a missed free throw late by Napheesa Collier that could have given the Huskies a 1-point lead with under 30 seconds left, the game would go to overtime, UConn’s first overtime game since their last loss in 2014.
The Bulldogs were up, they were down, but they were never out. As the game winded down to its final seconds, in a tie game in overtime, star guard Morgan William dribbled to her right, pulled up at the elbow and capped off one of the greatest sports moments in the history of women’s sports by ending the longest winning streak we’ve ever seen at the buzzer!
Morgan William Ends UConn’s 111-Game Streak: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxkIyaiQQLE
10. Kobe’s Last Game (2016)
This moment wasn’t a championship game. This game wasn’t for a gold medal. In fact, neither team in this game would even make the NBA playoffs. But for the 16-65 Los Angeles Lakers, this game meant everything to them.
On April 13, 2016, the franchise’s all-time greatest player, Kobe Bryant, was playing the final game of his legendary 20-year NBA career against the 40-42 Utah Jazz. Now, you might be wondering, ‘What makes the last game of anybody’s career so special?’ and ‘How could it possibly be special enough to make a list of great sports moments of a decade?’
Well, on a night dedicated to one of the greatest hoopers to ever live, Kobe Bryant was given the green light to shoot all night, much to the fans’ delight. And shoot is what he did. He did miss his first five shots, but at last, seven minutes into the game, Kobe would score the first basket of his final game. Little did we know, this basket would spark the start of a performance unlike any we’ve ever seen from a player in their final performance.
During different stretches of the game, Kobe would find ways to enter a zone and go on magical scoring spurts that only the great ones seem able to do. Five baskets in a row here, five in a row there. By early in the fourth quarter, he had scored 40 of his team’s 73 points, but the Jazz still led 82-73, and would need much more than just any old scoring run from Kobe to fight their way back.
They’d need an iconic run for the ages from the league’s then third all-time leading scorer.
With the Lakers trailing 96-88 with under two minutes left, and Kobe sitting at 49 points, he’d drive to the rim and float in a tough shot to put him over 50 points and setting fire to the crowd. A possession later, Kobe would come down, breathing heavy, and hit another jump shot to pull his team within 4, and the crowd only grew louder. Moments later, Kobe would will another basket through the net — this time a three, to put the Lakers 1 point away from tying it up.
Bryant was hunched over in exhaustion most of the fourth quarter, and still, for his final shot, pulled up just from inside the three point line and buried the jumper that shook the stands and gave the Lakers their first lead since the first quarter.
Down by as much as 14 in the last period, Kobe Bryant would score 17 straight points in the final five and a half minutes and 11 of those points in the final two minutes, totaling a mind-blowing 60 points in the game. Most importantly, Kobe led his Lakers to a 101-96 victory in his farewell game.
No player in NBA history had ever scored 50 points in a final game, let alone a 60, and no all-time great superstar had ever finished their career with such a monster performance for their final act the way that Kobe Bryant did. It didn’t win him one more championship, but the Mamba’s 60-point finale will go down as one of the greatest sports moments of the 2010s and of all-time. Rest in peace to the Black Mamba.
Kobe Bryant’s Final Game Highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTJwoWHMEw0
There were epic comebacks, nail-biting thrillers, clutch heroics and performances for the ages that make up these 10 iconic sports moments from the 2010s. Looking back at all these unforgettably great plays, performances, games and series are sure to send chills down your spine and raise the hairs on your arms with excitement and anxiety. That’s what the greatest of sports moments will do!