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Defining Moments of the Decade: Buzzer-beaters, The Bat Flip, & more 💯


With the decade drawing to a close, theScore looked back and voted on 100 moments that defined the sports world in the 2010s. We're counting down every Monday in December, and below are moments 40-21.

100-81 | 80-61 | 60-41 | 40-21 | 20-1

40. McGregor vs. Mayweather 👊🥊

Aug. 26, 2017

When Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor started talking about a potential boxing match, no one thought it would actually happen. But it did. The biggest superstar in UFC history crossed over to face one of the greatest boxers of all time. Mayweather defeated McGregor by 10th-round TKO, extending his pro record to 50-0 and dropping McGregor's to 0-1. Mayweather vs. McGregor is the second-best-selling combat sports pay-per-view of all time and proved that literally anything is possible. - Nick Baldwin

39. American Pharoah wins Triple Crown 🏇

June 6, 2015

Larry Collmus nailed the call on the broadcast: "The 37-year wait is over! American Pharoah is finally the one!" And with that, the drought ended, with another horse earning the Triple Crown. The thoroughbred led from gate to wire, winning the Belmont Stakes by five-and-a-half lengths and punctuating a 2015 for the ages. - Navin Vaswani

38. Doc's postseason no-hitter ⚾

Oct. 6, 2010

Rob Tringali / SportsChrome / Getty

Just four months after throwing a perfect game, Roy Halladay authored one of the best postseason pitching performances ever, tossing only the second playoff no-hitter in MLB history and the first since Don Larsen's perfecto in the 1956 World Series. Halladay had already established himself as the most dominant starter of his generation before he took the mound for Game 1 of the NLDS, but the late workhorse's remarkable outing that night - coming within a fifth-inning walk of hurling yet another perfect game - bolstered his already strong Hall of Fame credentials and further cemented his enduring legacy. - Josh Gold-Smith

37. Humboldt bus tragedy

April 6, 2018

In small-town Canada, the local junior hockey team is everything. When a semi-trailer truck ran a stop sign and t-boned the Humboldt Broncos' team bus - killing 16 people and injuring another 13 - it changed the lives of an entire community. It became a national story, too. Sticks were left outside houses nationwide for the fallen members and a GoFundMe campaign raised a national-record $15 million. Perhaps nothing encapsulated this heartbreaking tragedy more than the image of a broken disc of the movie "Slap Shot" at the scene of the accident. They were just boys being boys. - Josh Wegman

36. MLB's wild finale 😲

Sept. 29, 2011

With four teams vying for two playoff spots, the final day of the 2011 season was bound to be dramatic. What ensued was absolute mayhem. Jonathan Papelbon's blown save against the last-place Orioles concluded an incredible collapse by the Red Sox, who opened September as the AL's best team. David Price got shelled before the Rays erased a seven-run deficit on their final out, completing the comeback with Evan Longoria's extra-innings, walk-off homer. On the NL side, Craig Kimbrel's blown save helped eliminate the Braves and Chris Carpenter's complete-game gem carried the Cardinals into the postseason, setting up one of the most epic championship runs in MLB history. - Michael Bradburn

35. Ogunbowale's buzzer-beater

March 30, 2018

At the 2018 Final Four, Notre Dame junior Arike Ogunbowale sunk what would've been the shot of a lifetime for most players: a deep pull-up jumper to vanquish powerhouse UConn in overtime, cementing the Fighting Irish's trip to the national title game. It turns out that was merely the warm-up act. Against Mississippi State, Ogunbowale nailed one of the greatest buckets in college basketball history. After collecting the inbound pass with three seconds left in regulation, she took three dribbles toward the corner, leaned, and unfurled a high-arching three. Game. Season. The Fighting Irish were the 2018 National Champions. - Andrew Joe Potter

34. Kobe says goodbye with 60 🏀👋

April 13, 2016

Kobe Bryant ended his career exactly how we all expected him to: firing shots at will in typical Black Mamba fashion. The future Hall of Famer became the oldest player to score 60 points in a game at age 37, while carrying the Lakers to a double-digit comeback over the Jazz on the final day of the 2015-16 season. - Josh Weinstein

33. Philly Special 🏈

Feb. 4, 2018

"You want Philly Philly?" Eagles fans didn't know it then, but Nick Foles' play-call suggestion on 4th-and-goal with 38 seconds left in the first half was the biggest moment in the franchise's existence. Up 15-12 on the New England Patriots, head coach Doug Pederson confirmed arguably the gutsiest call in the sport's history. The ball was snapped to Corey Clement. Clement tossed it to Trey Burton. Burton threw to Foles in the end zone. Touchdown. No one saw the play coming - the climax of a game in which Foles outplayed Tom Brady on football's biggest stage. Philadelphia doesn't complete its unlikely Super Bowl run without it. - Mike Alessandrini

32. Mayweather vs. Pacquiao

May 2, 2015

Dubbed the fight of the century, Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao was highly anticipated for years, but it took a lengthy and at times acrimonious series of negotiations before the two finally reached an agreement. By that point both combatants, though still at the top of their sport, were a little past their primes. But that didn't make the fight any less lucrative, as it became the highest-selling pay-per-view in sports history. The bout itself was a dud largely due to Mayweather's defensive style and Pacquiao's undisclosed shoulder injury, with the latter allowing Mayweather to keep his perfect record intact with a unanimous decision victory. - Mike Dickson

31. Kawhi's Game 7 buzzer-beater 😵

May 12, 2019

As the fadeaway from the right corner took its first bounce straight in the air, you could hear a pin drop. The nearly 21,000 rabid Raptors fans inside Scotiabank Arena - plus millions more watching across Canada - held their collective breaths for what seemed like an eternity. And then, somehow, after four bounces, it fell through the hoop and the North exploded in a collective primal scream of joy. Kawhi's shot - the first-ever buzzer-beater in a Game 7 - instantly wiped away 24 years of repeated heartache for the Raptors and kick-started their run to an improbable title. - Simon Sharkey-Gotlieb

30. 2011 lockout, CP3 trade vetoed 🚫

Fall 2011

It's an incredible what-if: During the 2011 lockout, then-commissioner David Stern vetoed a trade that would have teamed Chris Paul with Kobe Bryant on the Lakers, sent Pau Gasol to the Rockets, and left New Orleans with Lamar Odom, Goran Dragic, and other odds and ends. Why? "Basketball reasons." Would Kobe have won a sixth title? Would the then-Hornets have been positioned to draft Anthony Davis in 2012? The Clippers would certainly never acquire Paul - or experience "Lob City." In a decade defined by blockbuster transactions, it was the move not made that may have had the largest impact. - Potter

29. Ovi gets his Cup

June 7, 2018

One Calder Trophy. One Art Ross Trophy. Three Hart trophies. Seven “Rocket” Richard trophies. Entering the 2017-18 season, one of the only things missing from Alex Ovechkin’s impressive list of accomplishments was seeing his name etched on the Stanley Cup. Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals were unable to get over the hump for years come playoff time. Then in his 13th season, one of the league’s most prolific scorers ever finally got his turn to hoist the cup, adding the Conn Smythe Trophy to his resume in the process. - Brandon Maron

28. Bautista's Bat Flip 💪

Oct. 14, 2015

The moment will forever be etched in the minds of Blue Jays fans. A wild top of the seventh featured Russell Martin botching a throw to Aaron Sanchez, allowing the Rangers to bring home the go-ahead run. After three Elvis Andrus errors in the bottom of the inning, Jose Bautista stepped up to the plate and redefined the term "bat-flip." His three-run homer helped the Blue Jays advance to their first ALCS since 1993, and it let the baseball world know that showing passion is OK. - Jose Taboada

27. Deflategate 🤥

Jan. 18, 2015

The story that just wouldn't go away. Only in the NFL could a controversy over PSI levels in footballs devolve into court battles as the greatest quarterback of all time tried to avoid a four-game suspension. Tom Brady ducked discipline for the entire 2015 season after that fateful AFC title game, but the legal battle continued and he was ultimately banned for the first four tilts of 2016. No matter. The Patriots lost just one game after Brady made his return, going all the way to the Super Bowl and coming away with yet another title, this one courtesy of a legendary comeback to stun the Falcons. - Daniel Wilkins

26. Biles sets worlds record 🥇

Oct. 13, 2019

Simone Biles' reign of dominance continued at the 2019 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Stuttgart, Germany, as she took home five of six possible gold medals. The haul brought the 22-year-old's career medal count to 25, making her the most decorated world championship gymnast - male or female - in history. - Caitlyn Holroyd

25. Rangers-Cardinals Game 6 🤪

Oct. 27, 2011

David Freese will eat for free in St. Louis for the rest of his life. With the Cardinals trailing and down to their final strike in the bottom of the ninth, he hit a game-tying, two-run triple. The Rangers took another lead in the 10th with a two-run Josh Hamilton bomb, but the Cardinals scraped together two more runs. Then, in the 11th, Freese clobbered a walk-off home run that set up a Game 7 World Series win at home. No other baseball game this decade could match the drama and magic of Game 6 at Busch Stadium. - Jason Wilson

24. Beast Quake

Jan. 8, 2011

During Marshawn Lynch’s first year in Seattle, he pulled off one of the most remarkable runs in NFL history. Playing against the New Orleans Saints in his first career playoff game, and doing it with the below .500 Seahawks, “Beast Mode” justified his nickname. He broke several tackles on his way to the end zone for an unbelievable 67-yard touchdown run, including shoving cornerback Tracy Porter to the ground with a monster stiff arm. The noise from fans celebrating after the four-quarter game-sealing play was so intense it registered on a seismograph nearby, giving the moment its name. - Caio Miari

23. Serena beats Venus for No. 23 🎾

Jan. 28, 2017

The story written by Venus and Serena Williams will never be replicated. It was fitting, therefore, when they crossed paths in Melbourne and once again rewrote the history books at the pinnacle of the sport. Serena captured her 23rd Grand Slam singles title, passing Steffi Graf for the Open Era record. It was later revealed Serena was eight weeks pregnant during her run. Venus made history of her own, reaching the final at the age of 36. The Williams sisters changed the game. We were fortunate to watch them do it again Down Under. - Devang Desai

22. Penn State scandal

Nov. 2011

The Penn State sexual assault scandal spanned decades, culminating in the 2011 arrest of Jerry Sandusky, the football team's celebrated ex-defensive coordinator who was eventually convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse. Sandusky's philanthropic work - founding a charity for troubled youth - was nothing more than a front for meeting and soliciting young boys. Investigators also discovered that Nittany Lions head coach Joe Paterno was made aware of at least one assault in the early 2000s and did report the incident to police. In 2012, Sandusky was sentenced to 30-60 years in prison, a term to which he was resentenced in November. The disgraced Paterno stepped down in November 2011 and died months later, and his statue was removed from campus. The NCAA, meanwhile, levied harsh sanctions against Penn State, most of which were later rescinded. - Bradburn

21. OBJ reaches back 🏈

Nov. 23, 2014

In the moment, NBC's Cris Collinsworth called it "absolutely impossible" and "maybe the greatest catch I've ever seen." Al Michaels offered a more measured response, saying, "It's in the conversation." Over the ensuing half-decade, we've had that conversation. And what the rookie did that night in New Jersey - diving backward while being dragged down by a defender, snagging the ball with the tips of his thumb and two fingers to instantly become a household name - stands above all others. It's as jaw-dropping a highlight now as it was then, with every camera angle revealing a new layer of difficulty. - David P. Woods

100-81 | 80-61 | 60-41 | 40-21 | 20-1

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