A few years from now, we will look back on 2010 and remember only certain moments in the world of sports — those instances of great influence, moments that changed the history and impacted the future of sports.
Here is part one of the unforgettable sports moments of 2010 that I think will withstand the test of time:
1. The World Cup and the Swarm of Bees (at least their sounds)
Spain claimed its first World Cup title by defeating the Dutch in the World Cup Final during the waning minutes of extra time with Andres Iniesta’s absolute blast directed towards the side netting. After tremendous expectations and unfortunate heartbreaks in each of the previous World Cups, Spain showed the world it was finally ready to hoist the trophy as the best team in the world.
Opposing teams were made weary and audiences were electrified by the passing execution among the Spanish defenders and midfielders, which was nothing less than impressive, as Spain kept the ball in its possession throughout most of its games. But Spain’s victory won’t be what fans remember most about the World Cup.
When people think back to the time they watched the 2010 World Cup, some may remember a struggling Italy unable to make it to the knockout stages for a potential repeat championship, or an internally divided France filled with strikes and resignations after the expulsion of their star striker Nicolas Anelka. And others may remember the vicious personality of Argentina’s coach and soccer legend Diego Maradona, or the huge upset that resulted from the comeback of the Netherlands over mighty Brazil.
But no one who watched the World Cup at least once could forget the acoustic uniqueness of this event in South Africa. As soon as you turned on the TV and you heard the bees, you knew what it was. Many people argued that the vuvuzelas were a distraction at best, while others saw them as the pride of the host nation. Either way, the sound of a vuvuzela will forever be associated with and distinguish the 2010 World Cup from all the rest.
2. The Decision (“Wait a minute, he is on that team now?!”)
After LeBron James joined the Cleveland Cavaliers as the number one pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, it seemed like he would showcase his talent early, develop into one of the premier players in the league, and create a dynasty in Cleveland, especially considering that he was born and raised in Ohio. The first two happened. But the third, not so much.
Becoming Rookie of the Year in 2003–04 and the NBA’s most valuable player in 2008–09 and 2009–10, James transformed into a rising superstar, making the All-NBA team and the All-Star game every year since 2005. But as a free agent in 2010, James decided to leave the adoring fans of Cleveland and join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami. Now, with superstars James and Wade on the same team, it is nearly impossible for defenses to contain the penetration of the Heat into the paint. The athleticism and skill of Wade and James has been shown to be just too much to handle.
LeBron’s move to Miami may have resulted from an intense craving for a “better chance” at a championship or a general disgust with the Cavaliers never winning it all. Either way, this single move has had a tremendous impact so far — contributing to the improved versatility of the Miami Heat and the abysmal regular season record of the Cleveland Cavaliers — and it promises to make history in the near future.
Next issue: The Wimbledon Epic and the Saints Come Home.