The Last Airbender: The 20 Greatest Gravity-Defying Feats in Sports
If it's anyone that can make you believe just for a second that the laws of gravity are temporarily ineffective, it's professional athletes.
Their athleticism, creativity and body control while flying through the air are characteristics to admire separately, but the end result of a great, air bending play is what really makes our jaws drop.
Here are the 20 moments that could have been featured in M. Night Shyamalan's new movie.
20. Tony Hawk's 900
At the 1999 Summer X Games, Tony Hawk soared into skateboarding history and into the pop culture mainstream with his trademark 900.
The first 900 ever done in competition, Hawk completed two and a half revolutions before riding out his trick cleanly and capturing the "best-trick" gold medal.
Hawk's feat thrust skateboarding into the spotlight and marked the advent of the extreme sports movement right at the turn of the century.
19. Sam Bradford Goes Head Over Heels
Torn ligaments in Sam Bradford's hand didn't stop him from catching some air against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the 2008 Bedlam game.
With the game on the line in the third quarter, Bradford scrambled to his right and got to the corner of the endzone before being flipped end-over-end and out of bounds.
Bradford scored on the next play and the Sooners got the win, 61-41.
18. Chazz Woodson Says Hello
If you thought lacrosse was for rich, wimpy white kids, meet Chazz Woodson.
The 27-year-old out of Brown brings an electric brand of lacrosse that makes the heads of even the most ignorant sports fans' turn and watch.
This goal occurred in 2008 during a game against the Chicago Machine during Chazz's days with the L.A. Riptide. The goal I'm referring to appears right away but don't be afraid to watch the rest of the video, this dude's sick.
17. Ross Powers' Huge Air
Snowboarder Ross Powers made the 2002 Olympic crowd at Salt Lake City forget how cold it was for a couple of seconds during his gold medal run.
Powers opened up his run with a huge method grab that carried him 18 feet above the half pipe wall, a world record at the time.
The U.S. swept the half pipe competition. It was the first U.S. sweep of a winter Olympic event since 1956.
16. Kirby Puckett's 1991 World Series Catch
Kirby Puckett's leaping catch against the plexiglass in Game 6 of the 1991 World Series robbed Ron Gant of an extra base hit, but also cemented Puckett's place in baseball history.
Puckett looks like he put springs into his cleats before he leaped to make this catch.
The Twins ended up winning the series in seven games.
15. Sacre Bleu! Vince Carter Throws Down
Carter made an international splash when he took flight over 7'2" center Frederic Weis against Team France in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Carter picked off an outlet pass, lept up and spread his legs to clear the big Frenchman.
The French media dubbed it "Le Dunk De la Mort", which means "The Dunk of Death." The nickname later was cemented in history as the U.S. went on to win the gold that year.
14. Mikey Powell Flips Against UMass
Mikey Powell showed why he's one of the best lacrosse players of all time when he gave the crowd a little something extra to cheer about his senior year against UMass in the Carrier Dome in 2004.
Powell was gearing up for an offensive possession when he sprung forward into a front flip before progressing with the play.
Even the seemingly infinite reach of YouTube couldn't produce a video of this one. Making anyone but a die-hard Syracuse Lacrosse fan clueless to what this feat actually looked like.
Take it from me though, it was pretty sick.
13. The John Elway Sidewinder
How Elway avoided a concussion on this play is beyond me, but the Broncos signal caller's airborne event after a scramble in Superbowl XXXII is one of the most memorable moments in Superbowl history.
The bold rush put the Broncos in position for the winning touchdown.
It was one of those plays that made you cringe at first, but looking back, one can really appreciate its awesomeness.
12. Sam McGuffie's Hurdle
The former running back for Cy-Fair Texas gained international fame on YouTube with his hurdle over an opposing defender.
McGuffie has great ups but no one ever bothered to feel sorry for the defender. Think about it, he got posterized and then cleated in the back.
Anyway, where is this McGuffie? I know he signed with Michigan but I'm pretty sure he transferred out.
11. Chuck Carothers' Body Varial
Affectionately called "Huck-a-Chuck", Mr. Carothers gained huge fame by landing the first ever motocross body varial.
Carothers launched off of a jump, pushed his body off of the bike and performed a barrel roll with his body before fastening onto the bike again and pulling it back from under him.
Carothers took home gold in in the 2004 X Games for his trick and motocross progression was sparked once again.
10. The Magic of Reggie Bush
USC's 2005 season was a magical trip for one of the greatest college football teams in history.
Reggie Bush stepped into the national spotlight at the beginning of the season and never left it. This leaping touchdown run against a Dec. 3 victory over UCLA punctuated his Heisman season.
9. Dee Brown Says: Look Ma, No Lookin'!
What a shame, the biggest moment of Dee Brown's career and he never even got to see it.
Brown won the 1991 Slam Dunk Competition with this famed flush. Brown bounced around from team to team but man he could jump out of the building.
8. The Air Gait
Gary Gait is widely regarded as the best lacrosse player of all time. He starred at Syracuse in the late 80s and early 90s and popularized numerous flashy moves.
His slick dodges and behind the back passes played second fiddle to Gary's trademark "Air Gait" move, where he would launch from behind the crease, dunk the ball in the goal and then land outside the crease in legal territory.
The move was later banned by the NCAA.
7. Chocolate Thunder
Darryl Dawkins took flight in 1979 to throw this dunk down against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Dawkins aptly named this dunk "The Chocolate-Thunder-Flying, Robinzine-Crying, Teeth-Shaking, Glass-Breaking, Rump-Roasting, Bun-Toasting, Wham-Bam, Glass-Breaker-I-Am-Jam."
6. The Human Highlight Reel Goes Baseline
Dominique Wilkins is arguably the greatest dunker of all time.
There's no one that 'Nique couldn't throw down on. Heck, he wasn't even afraid to throw down on three people as evidenced by this next dunk.
Wilkins may be remembered for his slam dunk contest performances, but this in-game flush definitely deserves its rightful place in history.
5. Michael Jordan Double Clutch (1985)
Michael Jordan entered the slam dunk contest for the first time as a rookie during the 1985 season.
In the finals he would meet none other than Dominique Wilkins.
Wilkins would prevail, but Jordan's second dunk will go down in history.
The then-youngster took off from almost the baseline, clutching twice and hanging in the air for what seemed like minutes before slamming it down in a reverse.
4. Evel Knievel Jumps Snake River Canyon
This nationally televised jump of Snake River Canyon in Twin Falls, Idaho was this old daredevil's most famous jump.
More heralded as a motorcyclist, Knievel hired an engineer to build him the Skycycle X-2, which served more as a rocket, than a motorcycle.
Knievel's parachute on the Skycycle launched prematurely during the jump. Amazingly, he survived the leap with only minor injuries.
3. Air Jordan, You Are Clear for Takeoff (1987)
Jordan rebounded from his loss to Wilkins in the 1985 slam dunk contest in style, by capturing the 1987 title.
His famous leap from the free-throw line is one of the most iconic dunks of all time.
I wonder if MJ's ears popped on this one?
2. Bobby Orr's Dive
You could say 1970 was a decent year for Bobby Orr. He captured the Conn Smythe, Norris, Art Ross and Hart trophy.
However, it was this play that got him and the Boston Bruins the Stanley Cup.
On May 10, 1970, Orr took a give and go pass from Derek Sanderson and slotted the puck home in the first overtime period to complete the Bruins' sweep over the St. Louis Blues.
Orr was tripped up on the play and famously leaped forward and raised his arms in triumph.
Orr's leap is recognized as one of the greatest plays, and most memorable photographs in sports history.
1. Dr. J's Reverse Layup
Before there was MJ, there was Dr. J.
Julius Erving re-defined the game of basketball with an array of expressive and artistic aerial displays of athleticism and body control.
His most gravity-defying moment came in Game 4 of the 1980 finals against the L.A. Lakers.
In the contest's closing moments, Erving takes the ball in one hand along the baseline and swoops in past two defenders, cooly finishing on the other side of the rim.
The Sixers would knock off the Lakers in that game 105-103. Erving's layup however, would become immortal. The poster child of the NBA "above the rim" revolution.