The Most Unforgettable, History-Making Sports Moments of the Decade
The Historic NBA Championship Saga Between the Golden State Warriors & Cleveland Cavaliers
In 2015, Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers to earn their franchise's first NBA championship since 1975. The following year, LeBron James and the Cavaliers came back with a vengeance and won Cleveland's first championship in franchise history, according to The New York Times. The intense rivalry between the two teams kept going for two more years as they continued to face off for the title and break new records for their respective teams. But in the end, Steph and the Warriors came out on top as three-time NBA champs, taking both 2017 and 2018 wins against Cleveland.
The USWNT Become World Cup Champions
The U.S. Women's National Soccer Team staked their claim as the best professional women's soccer team in the world, after their Women's World Cup win in 2019. The victory marked America's fourth championship, following their previous World Cup win in 2015.
Their elite status not only proved that they were No. 1, it helped amplify their fight for equal pay when they decided to sue the U.S. Soccer Federation over pay inequality with male players. The case is set to be heard in May 2020, three months before the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Ronda Rousey Makes First WrestleMania Debut & Gets Inducted into UFC Hall of Fame
The MMA fighter has checked off many firsts in her career, including being the first woman to sign with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in November 2012 and being the first woman to ever get inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in July 2018, according to CBS. But three months before she was inducted, Rousey made a huge splash as a wrestler at WWE's biggest event of the year: WrestleMania.
The athlete teamed up with Kurt Angle to beat Stephanie McMahon and Triple H at WrestleMania 34, which further cemented her spot as one of the most popular (and versatile) athletes of the decade.
Simone Biles Lands Historic Triple-Double
The extraordinary gymnast made history at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships in August 2012 after she nailed a historic triple-double, making her the first female gymnast to ever land the move in competition and the third athlete ever to attempt the move, according to the Washington Post.
“Simone’s got enough gold medals at home, someone give this girl a crown,” commentator Nastia Liukin, a former gymnast herself, said at the end of the remarkable routine. “I mean, absolutely incredible.”
Tiger Woods Wins Masters, His First Major Win in More Than a Decade
The professional golfer let everyone know who was still the champ after he secured his win at The Masters Tournament in April 2019. Earning the coveted green jacket meant even more since this was his first major win in 11 years.
The victory marked Woods’ fifth green jacket. Only retired player Jack Nicklaus, who has won the Masters six times, has earned more.
Serena Williams Wins Australian Open While Pregnant
For anyone who thinks the tennis star isn't one of the greatest athletes of ALL TIME ... think again. Once Williams revealed on Snapchat that she was 20 weeks pregnant in April 2017, fans quickly did the math and realized that she was expecting while she won the Australian Open that same year in January.
Derek Jeter Retires from Baseball
“I know they say that when you dream you eventually wake up. Well, for some reason, I’ve never had to wake up,” he wrote. “Not just because of my time as a New York Yankee but also because I am living my dream every single day.”
Jeter made his Major League Baseball debut in 1995. He quickly became the face of the team, winning Yankees Player of the Year five times and earning major endorsements for Nike, Gatorade and Gillette. But the team captain said a slew of injuries made him realize it was time to hang up his pinstripes.
“I realized that some of the things that always came easily to me and were always fun had started to become a struggle,” he wrote in the letter. “The one thing I always said to myself was that when baseball started to feel more like a job, it would be time to move forward.”
Kobe Bryant Ends 20-Year NBA Career by Scoring 60 Points During Final Game
The Lakers icon was not going to end his two-decade-long career without a bang. That's exactly what he did during his final game against the Utah Jazz. Then then-37-year-old put up 60 points, becoming the first player to end his career with a 60-point game.
During Bryant's last moments as a Laker, the organization played a video tribute, sharing their memories of Bryant’s illustrious career.
“We are here to celebrate greatness for 20 years, excellence for 20 years. Kobe Bryant has never hated, has never cheated us, the fans,” Earvin "Magic" Johnson said before introducing the video. “He’s played through injuries. He’s played hurt. And we’ve got five championship banners to show for it. When you think about this town for the last 20 years, this man has been the biggest and greatest celebrity in this town. He is not only a great sports icon, he is the greatest to wear the purple and gold.”
The floor of the L.A. Staples Center was also adorned with both of Bryant’s numbers, 8 and 24, for his final game.
The Chicago Cubs Win First World Series Since 1908
The curse was lifted once the 2016 team won the World Series against the Cleveland Indians in the seventh and final Series game. It was the first time the team had made it to the World Series since 1945, and the first time in 108 years that the Cubs actually won a World Series.