The Top-10 New York Sports Moments of All-Time
Love it or Leave it, New York is the center of the universe.
It's where Sinatra famously said, "If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere," giving every small-town entertainer hope in one of the biggest and prestigious cities in the world.
Over the years, its been called the "Mecca of Basketball" thanks to its history of hoops on the playgrounds and different boroughs around the city.
But what are the top moments ever in the great city's history? We weighed the many great times New Yorkers had and decided one the ten best.
So grab yourself some Grimaldi's pizza and enjoy some of these sports memories.
10. The Pairing of Joe Torre and Derek Jeter
Image via newsday.com
Without one another, who knows how these two would have been remembered?
Though Jeter made his Major League debut in 1995 when Buck Showalter was still managing the Yanks, it wasn't until the following year that the hotshot shortstop captured the Rookie of the Year award, along with the hearts of every New Yorker.
At just 22-years-old, "The Captain" combined his youth and energy with vets like Bernie Williams, Paul O'Neill and John Wetteland to bring the World Series title back to the Bronx for the first time since 1978.
The two would go on to win four total rings together, establishing a dynasty unmatched by any in baseball.
9. The 1999 New York Knicks
Image via kingmorland.com
The 1998-99 Knicks may not have ended the season by lifting the Larry O'Brien trophy—that went to the San Antonio Spurs after defeating New York 4-1 in the Finals—but that doesn't mean the ride the team took fans on wasn't one of the most celebrated (and unexpected) in the city's history.
Lacking chemistry and struggling to find any rhythm during a lackluster 27-23 lockout shortened season, the Knicks found themselves as the No. 8 seed by holding off the Charlotte Hornets by one-game in the Eastern Conference Standings.
After becoming only the second team to knock off a No. 1 seed in a series by beating the rival Heat in five games during their opening round, the city rallied around their beloved team all the way through the Finals loss to the Spurs, giving them some lasting memories that will never fade away during the incredible run.
8. The Giants Prove That No Team's Perfect (Except the 72' Dolphins)
Image via wfplaw.com
Entering the playoffs as a Wild Card team following a 10-6 regular season, the Giants were forced to go on the road in each of its first three playoff games.
They subsequently beat the Bucs in Tampa Bay, the NFC East rival Cowboys in Dallas and then the Packers in overtime on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field—thanks to Brett Favre's famous interception—which proved to be his last pass as a Packer.
But nothing compared to the feeling they had when beating the then-undefeated Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.
Defeating New England wasn't only redemption for the Week 17 loss the team suffered to the Pats, but it also proved that no team was invincible, as Eli won his first Super Bowl.
7. It Gets Through Buckner
Image via sportsecyclopedia.com
Hands-down, Buckner's error is one of the most devastating plays to ever occur in the history of sports.
With the Sox leading Game 6 of the 1986 World Series by two runs and on the verge of capturing their first title since 1918, the Mets were down to their last out in the bottom of the tenth inning.
Just as Mets players all but gave-up on the comeback—with first baseman Keith Hernandez actually going into the clubhouse to smoke a cigarette and slam some beers—Buckner had the ball hit a dead spot and not hop into his body, causing it to roll through his legs and into short right field as Mets' third baseman Ray Knight scored the winning run.
New York went on to win Game 7 two nights later, earning their first World Series title since the 1969 Miracle Mets team.
6. The Fight of the Century: Ali-Frazier I
Image via aolnews.com
With a then-record purse for the boxers—guaranteeing them each more than $2.5 million—the two fighters were the subject of numerous magazine and TV stories before the 1971 bout in Madison Square Garden.
Though many young fans recognize the names of title challenger Muhammad Ali and champ Joe Frazier, not many know the significance of possibly the "toughest ticket in New York sports history," as Ali was a symbol of the Vietnam War protesters, and Frazier was the voice of pro-war movement.
With the two heavyweights trading jabs for the full 15-round distance, Frazier landed a left hook that sent Ali to the ground for only the third time in his career. He managed to stay on his feet after getting back up, but lost his first professional fight when judges awarded Frazier the victory following a unanimous decision.
We're sure no one would have ever imagined the hype actually living up to the billing, but the first fight between the two boxers certainly entertained the many celebrities in the crowd.
5. Rangers Win the 1994 Stanley Cup
Image via rangers.nhl.com
After breezing through the first two rounds of the playoffs only losing one game, the Rangers found themselves in a battle with the cross-river rival New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference Finals, falling into a 3-2 series hole.
Stunned at home in Game 1, the Rangers ran off three straight wins for a 3-1 series lead—thanks to an insane Game 4 Mike Richter save on Bure—before dropping the next two to force a Game 7.
With the chants of "1940" coming from the New York faithful, the Rangers held off Vancouver to win their first Cup title in 54 years, earning Mark Messier and his teammates a lifelong key to the city.
4. Willis Reed Playing Through Injury in Game 7 of the 1970 Finals
Image via grantland.com
Reed may have only had a meager two field goals, but his playing had more to uplift his teammates before the deciding Game 7 versus the Lakers than anything else.
As he filtered out of the tunnel for pregame warm-ups after getting a heavy dose of painkillers to the affected area, fans were brought to their feet, and the atmosphere and energy in MSG was sky high.
Thanks to his gutsy performance, Reed helped inspire teammates like Walt Frazier, who finished with 36 points to help the Knicks win the game and series 113-99, for their first ever NBA championship.
3. Joe Namath's Super Bowl III Guarantee
Image via findingdulcinea.com
Just go ahead and check Namath's stats and ask yourself if they're Hall of Fame worthy. Bet you'd be surprised to see he had more career interceptions than touchdown tosses.
Hell, the guy even finished his career with more losses than wins.
So why is Broadway Joe in the hallowed halls in Canton? Quite frankly, because he did the unimaginable by shocking the heavily-favored, 13-1 Colts in the Super Bowl in 1969.
Namath's guarantee is still celebrated as one of the greatest upsets in NFL history.
2. Do You Believe in Miracles?
Image via minnesotafunfacts.com
It may have happened nearly five hours away from the big lights of New York City, but in a town consisting of just 2,700 people, one of the most historic sports moments in U.S. history took place, as the Red, White and Blue defeated the Soviets to earn a spot in the Gold Medal Game versus Finland—which they won 4-2.
With a team made up mostly of collegiate and amateur players, the U.S. scored two goals during a 1:32 span to take a 4-3 lead over the heavily-favored USSR.
Able to hold off several furious attacks by the Soviets in the final 10 minutes, the Americans beat a team that had won nearly every world tournament from 1954 to that day.
The "Miracle on Ice" wasn't just a win for a hockey team, but for an entire nation, as the U.S. was looking for anything to rally around during the years of the Cold War and other crises occurring in a telling time for the nation.
A group of college kids and NHL afterthoughts was the shoulder for a country to lean on.
1. Babe Ruth Acquired from the Red Sox
Image via flickr.com
There's absolutely no denying why the Yanks' acquisition of "The Babe" falls as No. 1 on our list of great moments.
Every baseball fan knows the story of how the BoSox sold Ruth to the Pinstripers for a mere 125-grand, consequently cursing the Fenway faithful from 1918 until their 2004 World Series title.
But more than just acquiring the greatest player in baseball history, Ruth has been in the forefront of New York baseball thanks to his called-shot in the '32 World Series, overall impact on the game and the other future Hall of Famers he played with such as Lou Gehrig, Earle Combs and Bill Dickey.
The 1927 Yankees team that won a then-record 110 games is still widely considered the best team in the history of baseball.