Some athletic marvels became famous for beating their idols, while others joined the ranks of their heroes. Some resuscitated their careers, while others eclipsed records no one thought would ever be broken. Then there were pro ballers who became the first to accomplish a particular athletic feat, while others entered the pantheon of all-time greats. Regardless of your favorite sport or athlete, 2023 teemed with thrills, intrigue and tantalizing storylines as thick and as exciting as a Stephen King novel.
Here are 10 of the best sports moments of 2023:Cori “Coco” Gauff: She became an overnight teen tennis sensation in the summer of 2019 when she defeated her idol, the legendary Venus Williams, in the first round at Wimbledon. We later learned that Gauff’s parents, Corey and Candi, relinquished their middle-class lifestyle in suburban Atlanta, and then pushed all of their literal and metaphorical chips to the middle of the table, to fulfill their daughter’s dreams. In 2023, it finally paid off when Gauff became the first teenager to win a Grand Slam (at the U.S. Open) since another of her idols, Serena Williams, accomplished the feat in 1999.
Brittney Griner: The celebrated center for the WNBA’s Phoenix Suns created an international incident when she allegedly tried to smuggle traces of marijuana into Russia in 2022. Griner was found guilty of drug smuggling and possession charges and received a nine-year prison sentence. After 294 days in confinement, Griner was able to finally fly home after being swapped out with a Russian arms criminal who was housed in an American prison.Angel Reese: Nicknamed the “Bayou Barbie,” Reese became a household name — and a lightning rod of controversy — after leading her LSU Tigers to a thorough vanquishing of the Iowa Hawkeyes, 102-85, in the women’s college title game in April. Reese dropped 15 points and 10 rebounds to earn the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four. Additionally, almost 10 million people watched the game, making the game the most viewed N.C.A.A. women’s basketball final in television history.
Sha’Carri Richardson: She was mercilessly maligned and vilified when she was disqualified from the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo after testing positive for marijuana. After bandaging up her emotional wounds following the death of her grandmother, the flamboyant and charismatic track star stormed back to the top by anchoring the 4×100 relay team to a 1st place finish in Budapest. She also scored a bronze in the 200-meter race. She will seek complete redemption in track and field during the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
Simone Biles: The megastar solidified her legacy as the greatest gymnast of all time when she won her 21st gold medal at the World Gymnastics Championships in October at Antwerp, Belgium. During that tournament, she also became the most decorated gymnast in world history, boasting a total of 34 championship medals overall.
LeBron James: The Los Angeles Lakers legend was already the only player in history to be in the Top 10 all-time list in scoring, assists and steals. But on Feb 7. 2023, King James became the all-time leading scorer bypassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with 38,388 points at Crypto.com arena.
Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes and Philadelphia Eagles’ Jalen Hurts: The pair made history as the first African American quarterbacks to face off in a Super Bowl when they met for the 2023 title game at State Farm Stadium in Phoenix in February.
WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces: the dynastic Aces, anchored by perennial MVP candidate Aja Wilson, became just the third WNBA team in history to win back-to-back championships, joining the Los Angeles Sparks (2001-02) and the Houston Comets who did it four consecutive years (1997-2000).
Deion Sanders: nicknamed “Coach Prime” or just “Prime,” Sanders stormed into the major college football universe by taking over as the head coach of the University of Colorado Buffaloes. The hoopla reached its zenith when the Buffaloes shocked sports pundits and defeated 17th-ranked TCU, 45-42 win, who was the national runner-up last season.
Jayden Daniels: the LSU quarterback rebounded spectacularly from an opening-day loss to Florida State to produce arguably the most prolific season a signal-caller has ever produced. Daniels was eventually rewarded with college football’s highest award, the Heisman Trophy, at the end of the 2023 season.
Source: Rolling Out