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10 Best Superhero Feats in Sports History

Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIINovember 18, 2012

10 Best Superhero Feats in Sports History

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    Cam Newton had a few superhero-like feats as a rookie, but his second season in the NFL is proof that super powers are hard to maintain.

    The image above served as an inspiration to create a list of the craziest superhuman acts ever achieved in sports.

    The superhero concept is going to be used in different ways throughout the list. Some of the moments are super because of the sheer athleticism displayed, some are super because of the circumstances surrounding the event and some embody both characteristics.

    Feel free to share your opinions on them and to mention other moments that you believe are worthy of the list in the comments section. 

Bo Jackson's Wall Run

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    What happened?

    After running full speed to chase down a liner in left-center field, Bo Jackson ran up the outfield wall in a half-circle.

     

    What made it superhero-like?

    How often do we see a baseball player do something like this?

    In a sport that is often more about skill than traditional athleticism, it was truly stunning to see Jackson slow down his momentum in this fashion. 

    Jackson was far more than just a baseball player; he was the greatest pure athlete I've ever seen.

    The feat had no special effect on the game itself, but it was awesome. 

Taurian Fontenette's 720 Dunk

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    What happened?

    Taurian Fontenette, a.k.a. "Air Up There" of the AND1 mix-tape tour, did the first ever widely-documented 720 slam dunk.

     

    What made it superhero-like?

    Just watch the video. This doesn't require much of an explanation.

Jerome Simpson's Flip

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    What happened?

    Jerome Simpson—then of the Cincinnati Bengals—leaps and flips over a defender into the end zone for a touchdown in Week 16 of the 2011 NFL season.

     

    What made it superhero-like?

    This is just as self-explanatory as the 720, but possibly even more so.

    Not only does Simpson display some freakish athleticism, but he does so in an actual game to put points up on the scoreboard. 

LeBron's Cramp Game

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    What happened?

    LeBron James scored five points in the last five minutes of Game 4 of the 2012 NBA Finals with severe leg cramps. The Miami Heat won Game 4 and went on to win Game 5 and the series.

     

    What made it superhero-like?

    Playing with leg cramps is difficult in and of itself, but considering the pressure surrounding James throughout the entire season, this performance was even more impressive. 

    Because of James' poor performance in the 2011 NBA Finals where his Miami Heat fell to the Dallas Mavericks, he had to be thinking, "Oh no. This can't be happening to me now."

    Despite those negative thoughts, the Thunder's swarming defense and the leg cramps, James made a contested bank-shot and a three to deal a significant blow to the Thunder's title hopes.

Mike Tyson's Championship KO

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    What happened?

    Mike Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in history by knocking out Trevor Berbick in the second round at the age of 20.

     

    What made it superhero-like?

    For a young man at 20 years of age to demolish a respected heavyweight champion like Berbick was amazing.

    Berbick was 31-4-1 when he faced Tyson, and many don't realize just how good of a chin he had. Throughout his career, he was only defeated by TKO or KO one other time.

    Tyson's raw speed and power was—and still is—the most polarizing sight in heavyweight boxing history.

Kirk Gibson's Game-Winning Homerun

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    What happened?

    Kirk Gibson of the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Oakland Athletics with a two-run, walk-off home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.

     

    What made it superhero-like?

    Gibson pinch-hit in the bottom of the ninth despite having injuries to both legs and an upset stomach, per Total Pro Sports. He was in such bad shape from a mobility standpoint that he would have had to be pinch-run for had he reached base in any way besides a dinger.

    Those details are super enough, but the fact that he hit a bomb off of the game's most dominant closer, Dennis Eckersley, made it all the more worthy of a comic book.

Mario Lemieux's Amazing Goal

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    What happened?

    Mario Lemieux takes the puck from his blue line, splits two Minnesota North Stars defenders and scores one of the greatest goals in NHL history in Game 2 of the 1991 Stanley Cup Finals.

     

    What made it superhero-like?

    This goal would be a highlight reel play even if it happened in the preseason, but who does stuff like this in the postseason—or the NHL Stanley Cup Finals, for that matter?

    Mario Lemieux, that's who.

    This goal helped propel the Penguins to win their Stanley Cup in franchise history. 

Reggie Miller's 8 Points in 11 Seconds

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    What happened?

    Reggie Miller scored eight points in 11 seconds to lead the Indiana Pacers to a Game 1 win over the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden in 1995. 

     

    What made it superhero-like?

    Some in New York might call it supervillain-like, but I'll call it heroic. Miller always made three-point shots look easy, but I've never seen someone single-handedly erase a six point lead in 11 seconds. 

    After hitting a contested three, Miller got the steal on a inbounds pass (there might have been a foul, but hey, that's an insignificant detail), then had the presence of mind to head straight for the arc to sink another trifecta.

    Just for effect, the second three was a cleaner make than the first.

    In case you're wondering where the other two points came from, Miller sunk two free throws to ice the game and put a cap on one of the greatest postseason performances in NBA history.

Michael Jordan's Flu Game

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    What happened?

    Michael Jordan scored 38 points with the flu to lead the Chicago Bulls to a Game 5 victory over the Utah Jazz in the 1997 NBA Finals.

     

    What made it superhero-like?

    Scoring 38 points in the NBA Finals is quite a feat, but that's been done plenty of times. Dropping just under 40 with the flu after a night of vomiting has only been done once.

    Jordan is the greatest that has ever lived, and this game proved it. 

Bob Beamon's Perfect Long Jump

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    What happened?

    Bob Beamon set the world record in the long jump at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico.

     

    What made it superhero-like?

    When Beamon set the record at 29 feet, two-and-three-eighths inches, it was nearly two feet further than the previous world record. Sportswriter Dick Schaap entitled Beamon's biography The Perfect Jump in reference to the historic leap. 

    Considering he was nearly out of the running for the gold medal in his prior two jumps, there was even more pressure involved in this attempt. He had overstepped his leap by a foot in the qualifying attempts, per The Guardian.

    On his third try, Beamon hit the board perfectly and leaped into the history books. Beamon's mark has since been broken, but to put this accomplishment in the proper perspective, you have to realize how superior the effort was for the time.

    The record had advanced by just eight-and-a-half inches in the 33 years since Jesse Owens set the standard in 1935. The "magical mark" was considered to be 28 feet, but Beamon cleared the lofty standard by more than a foot.

     

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