In case you haven’t noticed, 2013 has been absolutely packed with huge sports stories. In just six months, we’ve seen incredible streaks, horrifying injuries, epic games, bizarre interruptions, major investigations, shocking murders, and even a cowardly terrorist attack. Normally we don’t get this many big stories in a year.
Today, as we move into the second half of 2013, we’re going to take a look back at the biggest sports stories we’ve seen so far. Some are amusing; others devastating. But they’ve all had major impacts on the sports we love.
Take a look…
Joe Flacco won the MVP and earned a massive contract from the Ravens; Ray Lewis retired a champion; the Harbaugh brothers coached against each other with the championship on the line; and Colin Kaepernick proved he was not unbeatable. However, the thing people will probably remember most about Super Bowl XLVII was how the lights went out at the start of the second half. That was weird.
13. Lights Out at Super Bowl XLVII
There have been several notable sports deaths so far in 2013, from Pat Summerall to Deacon Jones to Earl Weaver to Stan Musial. However, the biggest loss of them all would have to be that of Los Angeles Lakers owner, Dr. Jerry Buss. The guy bought the Lakers in 1979 and transformed them into one of the biggest sports brands in the entire world—and one of the most successful franchises in all of professional sports. During his tenure, fans in L.A. were treated to 10 championships and Hall of Famers like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Pat Riley, Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, and Phil Jackson. While guys like Jones and Musial were legends in their respective sports, their passing didn't leave a huge hole the way Buss's did.
12. Jerry Buss Passes Away
There have been inexplicably gruesome injuries in sports before. What made Kevin Ware's horrific leg break so notable was the fact that everyone was watching when it happened.
Okay, well, maybe not everyone, but a lot of people. This wasn't some second-tier soccer game from Turkey. This was the Elite Eight, with the No. 1 ranked team facing college basketball darlings Duke. And when Ware's leg snapped in half right before our very eyes, social media lit up.
11. Kevin Ware's Horrifying Injury
March 8 & 27
This year there we were treated to not one but two historic streaks—and they practically happened simultaneously.
The first began on January 19 and lasted until March 8, when the Colorado Avalanche became the first team to beat the Chicago Blackhawks in regulation and deny them a point. Total consecutive games without losing in regulation: 24.
The second began on February 3 and lasted until March 27, when the Chicago Bulls beat the Miami Heat to prove that they were not, in fact invincible. Total consecutive games won: 27.
10. Historic Streaks
June 18 & 24
Go figure—the two teams that gave us the most dominant performances so far in 2013 and the two most impressive streaks also gave us two of the most incredible Game 6 comebacks of all-time.
On June 18, the Miami Heat rallied from a 13-point third quarter deficit and a five-point deficit with less than half a minute remaining in the fourth quarter. However, the managed to tie the game up and win it in overtime to force a Game 7...which they won to secure their second straight championship.
Just one week later, on June 24, the Chicago Blackhawks found themselves trailing the Boston Bruins 2-1 with 80 seconds left to play in the third. But in a span of 17 seconds, Chicago scored two goals to take a 3-2 lead, earning their second Stanley Cup in four years.
Both of these contests belong in the pantheon of legendary games.
9. Game 6s
Of course, the thrilling Game 6 conclusion to the 2013 NHL Season almost didn't happen at all. The NHL owners and players union were locked in an absurd, greed-fueled labor dispute that nearly wiped out another whole hockey season. It was only a last-minute agreement on January 6 that spared the people who matter most—the fans and non-hockey employees of the 30 NHL franchises.
8. NHL Lockout Ends
For just the second time in 40 years, not a single player was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers of America. And while casual observers might chalk it up to a weak class of 2013, serious fans know what was really going on. The BBWA was sending a very clear message: no cheaters in the Hall. Period. Rogers Clemens, Sammy Sosa, and Barry Bonds were all on the ballot, and despite their insane career stats they were all denied.
Sadly, so too were guys who never tested positive for or were linked to PEDs, and who are definitely worth serious consideration. Examples: Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell, and Craig Biggio.
Maybe next year?
7. Baseball Hall of Fame Shutout
Last month, Major League Baseball dropped a major bomb on us: they were talking to Miami PED provider Anthony Bosch and had intentions of suspending up to 20 players for cheating—including such sluggers as Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, and Nelson Cruz.
Of course, since then not a whole lot of progress has been made toward handing out penalties. However, the real significance of this story isn't the actual suspensions but MLB's bold effort. It is unprecedented in pro sports, and a potential game-changer.
6. MLB 'Roid Investigation
Last August, the New England Patriots signed Pro Bowl tight end Aaron Hernandez, then 23, to a five-year $40 million extension that featured a $12.5 million signing bonus—an NFL record for that position.
Today Hernandez is sitting in a jail cell awaiting his trial for the first degree murder of Odin Lloyd.
So yeah, that's a pretty big story.
5. Aaron Hernandez Charged with Murder
The Aaron Hernandez case was big. The Oscar Pistorius case was absolutely shocking. On February 15, the world woke up to the news that the famous amputee olympian from South Africa had murdered his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. The courts still have to decide whether the whole thing was some insane, tragic accident, or whether it was done with malice aforethought. But either way, we know the poor woman is dead, and we know Pistorius pulled the trigger.
4. Oscar Pistorius Charged with Murder
In January, Lance Armstrong admitted what everyone with a brain already knew: he used lots and lots of dope to win those seven consecutive Tour de France titles.
Of course, despite the fact that most (or many) of us knew this to be true already, we were still utterly fascinated by his televised confession to America's high priestess of pop culture, Oprah Winfrey. What exactly would he say? How would he say it? Would he make excuses? Would he ask for forgiveness? Would he cry like a baby?
In short, it was genuine a TV event. Unfortunately for Lance and Oprah, it was almost immediately forgotten thanks to...
3. Lance Admits to Doping
On January 16, Deadspin broke the most bizarre sports news story of the decade: Manti Te'o's dead girlfriend—the one he talked about in inspirational interviews—never existed. Immediately people started forumlating theories as to how and why this all happened. Some said Manti was the victim of a hoax. Some said Manti was behind the whole thing. And some said it was because he was actually gay.
In the end, it turned out that Manti almost certainly was the victim of a hoax. But that didn't make the story any less incredible. And it still led to this.
2. The Manti Te'o Hoax
On April 15, the world watched in horror as Boston dealt with a horrendous and cowardly act of violence. Brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev detonated homemade bombs near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon, killing three people and inflicting gruesome injuries on 264 others.
Four days later, the world stopped in its tracks again when the brothers went on another crime spree, killing a police officer, and initiating a massive city-wide manhunt that completely shut down the city of Boston.
Of course, throughout all this, the world also learned that the people of Boston are tough as nails and impossible to break. And that was pretty inspirational.
1. Boston Marathon Bombing
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