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2020 in sports: Kobe, coronavirus, cancellations, championships

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A worldwide pandemic wasn’t sufficient to cease the world of sports activities. Listed below are a number of the tales and moments that outlined the unusual yr.

As a lot as followers had hoped sports activities would distract them from the coronavirus pandemic, even the video games all of us love weren’t immune. Seasons have been postponed, canceled, put in bubbles or stay in a weekly world of flux.

Regardless of that, there have been improbable and weird moments many might have missed previously 12 months. This is a have a look at 20 issues that outlined 2020 in sports activities.

LSU wins nationwide championship

Ed “Coach O” Orgeron and Heisman-winning quarterback Joe Burrow led LSU to a dominating 42-25 win within the nationwide title sport over defending champion, Clemson. Burrow threw 5 landing passes and ran for one more rating.

Loss of life of a basketball legend

It was the primary sports activities shock of 2020. 5-time NBA champion Kobe Byrant, 41, his daughter Gianna, 13, and 7 others have been killed in a helicopter crash on a foggy morning outdoors Los Angeles on Jan. 26.

Memorials for Bryant have been huge, occurring earlier than the coronavirus took maintain within the U.S. Followers flooded the skin of the Staples Heart in Los Angeles with a sea of automobiles, flowers, balloons, pictures and different mementos.

Hundreds attended a memorial on Feb. 24 (the date 2/24 honored Gianna’s No. 2 basketball jersey quantity and the No. 24 Kobe wore within the second half of his profession). Vanessa Bryant supplied a poignant portrait of her NBA celebrity husband and their daughter.

The NBA All-Star Sport MVP Award was completely renamed for Bryant. He’s set to be inducted into the Basketball Corridor of Fame in 2021.

RELATED: 10 sports activities greats who we misplaced earlier than their time

Chiefs break Tremendous Bowl title drought with 4th quarter comeback

Down 20-10 late within the 4th quarter in opposition to the San Francisco 49ers, Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs rattled off 21 factors within the last 6:13 to win Tremendous Bowl LIV, 31-20. It was the Chiefs’ first title in 50 years and Andy Reid’s first championship in 21 years as an NFL head coach.

Tom Brady period ends in New England, begins in Tampa Bay

Tom Brady took his six Tremendous Bowl rings and parted methods with the Patriots after 20 seasons in New England. He landed in Tampa Bay, getting solely the second head coach of his profession in Bruce Arians, a slew of latest weapons (and an previous one in tight finish Rob Gronkowski), and lots of excessive expectations for a championship.

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NBA postpones season after 1st optimistic check

Which NBA participant was the primary to check optimistic for the coronavirus earlier than the NBA suspended its season? Rudy Gobert is the reply to that trivia query. Information of the optimistic first postponed the Utah Jazz vs. Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder sport on March 11. Not lengthy after, your entire season was placed on maintain. Gobert joked in regards to the pandemic two days earlier by touching all of the microphones arrange at a press convention.

The unthinkable: NCAA tournaments canceled

The day after the NBA shut down, the NCAA adopted go well with by canceling the extremely fashionable and profitable “March Insanity” males’s basketball event and ladies’s event. Shutting down an occasion that brings in a reported $1 billion in promoting income gave the most important indication of how severe the pandemic was.

2020 Olympics postponed

Suspending an occasion that brings 1000’s of athletes from around the globe is not any small factor, however that is what occurred when the 2020 Summer time Video games in Tokyo have been placed on maintain in March. The pandemic was worsening, and few had a stable plan on find out how to conduct it safely. The Video games are now set for precisely one yr later, nevertheless it stays to be seen whether or not they could look a bit completely different beneath pandemic restrictions.

Different sports activities paused, canceled

One after the other, leagues and occasions began hitting the brakes.

The MLB exhibition season was halted and the beginning of the season was postponed. The NHL, MLB and NASCAR seasons have been additionally paused. Wimbledon and golf’s U.S. Open have been canceled whereas The Masters would transfer to the unfamiliar confines of November. The Little League World Sequence was scrapped.

The NFL Draft was the primary main digital occasion — highlighted by folks ogling a photograph of Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s residence.

The revival of the XFL lasted 5 weeks earlier than it needed to shut down, nevertheless it was then purchased by a enterprise consortium led by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson within the hopes of bringing the league again.

And one yr after a historic eight-way tie for the title, the Nationwide Spelling Bee was C-A-N-C-E-L-E-D.

Washington NFL workforce, Cleveland MLB workforce drop Native American monikers

Seven years after proprietor Dan Snyder declared, “We are going to by no means change the identify of the workforce,” Washington’s NFL workforce introduced it was dropping its maligned nickname that was seen as a slur in opposition to Native People. The change of coronary heart got here because the nation was embroiled in protests for racial justice.

For the 2020 season, it was merely often known as the Washington Soccer Crew. The workforce reportedly might maintain that for 2021.

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In Main League Baseball, the Cleveland franchise introduced in December it could change its identify, however proprietor Paul Dolan mentioned the change would not occur till after 2021.

Lakers win bubble ball

The NBA resumed its season in July, with solely the groups within the playoff hunt taking part within the so-called “bubble.” All video games have been performed on three courts at Walt Disney World with no followers within the stands however attending just about. It labored. The league completed out the season with no main coronavirus points. And in a yr honoring the passing of Kobe Bryant, his Los Angeles Lakers, led by LeBron James, received its 17th championship, defeating the Miami Warmth in six video games.

RELATED: Vanessa Bryant shares heartfelt message after Lakers win NBA title

Lightning strikes twice

The NHL additionally took the bubble route, with the Stanley Cup playoffs performed completely in Canada. The Tampa Bay Lightning received its second Stanley Cup, defeating the Dallas Stars in six video games.

Dodgers rule MLB season like no different

Baseball returned in late July, however with a number of adjustments to maintain it fascinating, aggressive and secure. Groups performed solely 60 video games, all in their very own geographic area. Followers have been saved away for many of it. Each leagues utilized the designated hitter. MLB added a brand new extra-inning twist: every workforce would begin with a runner at second base.

Playoffs have been expanded to 16 groups and the Division, Championship and World Sequence have been performed on impartial fields.

After a 32-year drought, the Los Angeles Dodgers received the World Sequence, beating the Tampa Bay Rays in six video games. Corey Seager was named collection MVP.

Seattle storms to 4th WNBA title

The WNBA adopted the NBA’s lead and performed its whole season in a bubble, once more with few coronavirus issues. With Sue Hen and Breanna Stewart coming back from season-ending accidents in 2019, the Seattle Storm cruised to its fourth general championship, sweeping the Las Vegas Aces within the finals.

A month later, Hen added a fifth ring — the engagement variety from U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe.

World No. 1 tennis participant DQ’d

On the U.S. Open, a annoyed Novak Djokovic fired a ball to the again of the courtroom out of anger and inadvertently hit a line decide. Djokovic was instantly disqualified from the event.

Austrian Dominic Thiem received the boys’s title. Naomi Osaka received her second girls’s title in three years.

NFL struggles with COVID-19

The NFL has been capable of make the 2020 season work, however not with out some struggles and a variety of adjustments. Followers aren’t allowed at most video games. There may be strict enforcement that gamers and coaches should put on face masks when not on the sector of play. However even with that, a number of video games needed to be rescheduled throughout the season as a number of groups struggled with gamers or workers contracting COVID-19.

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RELATED: NFL expands masks mandate, threatens to self-discipline violators

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The NFL canceled preseason, and there have been indications that it had a serious impact. A excessive variety of gamers suffered season-ending accidents early within the yr. Some groups struggled to succeed in their optimum potential because of the lack of additional preparation.

Because the season was winding down, the Chiefs was effectively on its approach towards a potential return to the Tremendous Bowl; the Raiders, Rams and Chargers had opened their new stadiums; Brady had the Bucs poised for the playoffs; the Payments received its first division title in a quarter-century; and three years faraway from a winless season, the Cleveland Browns was on the verge of its first postseason berth since 2002.

Disjointed school soccer season

The NCAA soccer season was much more of a conundrum. Some conferences, together with the Large Ten and Pac-12, postponed their seasons solely to come back again beneath strain. Others, just like the SEC, pushed on from the beginning however with restricted schedules.

COVID-19 performed havoc throughout the nation. A number of video games per week have been canceled or postponed. Gamers and coaches have been sidelined as a consequence of optimistic exams, together with Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Alabama head coach Nick Saban.

On the optimistic aspect, historical past was made when Vanderbilt’s Sarah Fuller turned the primary girl to attain in a serious convention soccer sport.

The primary nationwide semifinal on New 12 months’s Day will likely be No. 1 Alabama vs. No. four Notre Dame within the Rose Bowl Sport Introduced by Capital One, which was moved from Pasadena to Dallas as a consequence of COVID-19 restrictions in California. The opposite will likely be No. 2 Clemson vs. No. Three Ohio State within the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

The CFP championship is ready for Jan. 11.

Like father, like son

Chase Elliott received his first NASCAR Cup Sequence title, becoming a member of his father, Invoice, in profitable the crown. Each did it driving the No. 9 automobile. They be a part of Lee and Richard Petty and Ned and Dale Jarrett within the father-son championship fraternity.

Dustin Johnson wins The Masters

Dustin Johnson was Mr. November as The Masters was moved from spring to fall as a consequence of COVID-19. Johnson shot a 20-under 268 for the 4 rounds, besting the report of 270 shared by Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth.

Crew hoist MLS Cup

Not lengthy after the season began, Main League Soccer put the brakes on due to the coronavirus.

After the Portland Timbers received the “MLS Is Again” event, the season resumed. The Columbus Crew received the MLS Cup, defeating defending champion Seattle 3-nil.

‘Relaxation In Peace’

From the world of sports activities leisure, the legendary determine often known as The Undertaker retired from WWE. He made the announcement on the Survivor Sequence pay-per-view, the identical occasion the place he made his debut 30 years earlier.

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