Chicago Cubs fans cried with happiness – and Cleveland Indian fans from broken hearts – when the team broke a 108-year drought and the curse of a smelly goat to win the World Series Game 7 victory that will go down in baseball history. Amid the celebrations, diehard Cubs fan Bill Murray cried, chugged champagne … and drunkenly interviewed Cubs general manager Theo Epstein in the locker room.
The world appeared to stop to honor “The Greatest” when Muhammad Ali died on June 3 at age 74. President Obama, former President Bill Clinton, Billy Crystal and Bryant Gumbel were among those who paid tribute to the boxing legend in a star-filled funeral held in his home city of Louisville, Kentucky, as thousands of mourners filled the streets.
New England Patriots fans sobbed — and the rest of the NFL cheered — when Tom Brady threw in the towel in his fight against the Deflategate suspension. The QB sat out four games … and then went on to lead his team to the clinch the AFC East for the eighth consecutive year. Who’s crying now, Roger Goodell?
The Rams’ return to L.A. sparked tears of joy from patience football-starved fans … until they actually saw them play. Jubilation quickly turned to frustration as first round draft pick Jared Goff spent most of the season sat on the bench and head coach Jeff Fisher was fired after a a devastating 42-14 home loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Oh well, there’s always next season — or the one after that.
The wasn’t a dry eye in the house when legendary announcer Vin Scully called his last L.A. Dodgers game in September. And after 67 years, Scully couldn’t hold back the emotion pouring from the press box at Chavez Ravine. “There is no more important broadcaster in the history of baseball than Vin Scully,” filmmaker Ken Burns told TheWrap at the time.
Ryan Lochte prompted tears of shame from the IOC and America as a nation when he confessed to making up a story about being robbed at gunpoint with fellow Olympic swimmers during the Rio Summer Games. The gold medal-winner was banned from the sport for 10 months … and went on to compete on Season 23 of “Dancing With the Stars.”
If tears could be rainbow-colored, then they would epitomize the reaction to “NBA on TNT” reporter Craig Sager’s death from leukemia on Dec. 15 at age 65. The beloved sportscaster melted even the coldest of hearts (we’re looking at you, Coach Popovich) with his lively courtside banter and bright suits.
Talk about going out on top. Some thought Peyton Manning should have hung his helmet up a few neck surgeries ago — not the Papa John’s pitchman himself. No. 18 returned for one more run, and with a great defense, lead the Denver Broncos to the promised land. Cut the water works.
Bill Simmons’ fans have had a rocky few years, and 2016 was no exception. This year, the Sports Guy got himself a new website and even a weekly talk show on HBO. Great, right? Well, Simmons barely writes for The Ringer and his “Any Given Wednesday” was canceled after just four months. Maybe ESPN is hiring?
The knee that shook the world. Colin Kaepernick wasn’t even the starting San Francisco 49ers QB when he began one of the most infamous sporting events protests in history. Kaepernick decided early this season he’d no longer stand for the national anthem when played before NFL games. Cut to: a nation (even more) divided.
The Internet didn’t shed many tears over Skip Bayless jumping ship from ESPN’s “First Take” for the much smaller Fox Sports 1, though surely someone was sad to see the polarizing personality bid Bristol adieu, right? Executives? The Bayless clan? Anyone? Alright, give us a break, it was a big move and indicative of a troubling trend over at the Worldwide Leaders in Sports.
Look, Cleveland, you didn’t get the World Series Trophy this year, but you did come away with an NBA Championship. That’s a pretty good silver (actually, it’s gold) lining. When prodigal son LeBron James made good on his guarantee this June, it wasn’t just sweat pouring down people’s faces.
While no hearts were broken except Curt Schilling’s when the controversial MLB analyst and former World Series pitcher was booted from ESPN’s airwaves in April. One thing is for sure though, there were plenty of tears of rage over his offensive racist and anti-transgender tweets that led to his firing.
Kobe Bryant brought Los Angeles to tears by announcing his retirement — some were of joy, others of sorrow. Bryant is a legend out here, but he also has pretty much set the Lakers back half-a-decade simply by sticking around. Kobe’s final game was a tear-jerker for the right reasons, when he poured in 60 points on 50 shot attempts.
This holiday season, raise a glass of half-iced tea and half-lemonade to a legend. Arnold Palmer was so much more than a delicious summer drink, he was the man who most placed professional golf on the map in the U.S. Palmer was handsome, charming and most of all, talented. He will be missed.
After breaking ground for women’s basketball and winning eight championships with her University of Tennessee Lady Vols, coach Pat Summitt lost her battle with early onset dementia Alzheimer’s in June at age 64. Both male and female athletes weeped at the loss of a sporting pioneer.