50 Sports Moments It's More Than OK To Cry About
It seems there's unwritten rules for everything these days.
You can't steal with a big lead in baseball, pad your stats in basketball, and so on.
However, there is one unwritten rule that all men have learned to abide by—never cry.
Crying is the quickest way to lose respect as a man.
However, there are exceptions to this rule.
Death, disease, and, of course, heartbreaking or heartwarming sports moments.
Here's 50 sports moments that you can shed a tear at without any other man judging you. Enjoy!
50. 2001 World Series "Paul O'Neill" Chants
I've never seen anybody who busted their ass for the game of baseball quite like Paul O'Neill. He would do ANYTHING it took to win.
And Yankee fans realized this.
So during the 2001 World Series, which was expected to be O'Neill's last season in pinstripes, Yankees Universe wanted to give him a special parting gift.
And boy was it special.
During the latter portions of Game Five of the Series, every mouth screamed the same two words like a chorus in harmony: "Paul O'Neill! Paul O'Neill! Paul O'Neill!" It gave you goosebumps just to watch it.
It's extremely rare that you see Yankee fans get like that, and the way they got behind O'Neill that night was more than touching.
49. Josh Hamilton In The 2008 Home Run Derby
Josh Hamilton's story of redemption may be the best in the history of sports.
Just hearing the tale sends chills down your spine.
However, back in 2008, nobody knew whether or not Josh Hamilton was here to stay.
That changed after the 2008 Home Run Derby.
Hamilton launched 28 shots all over Yankee Stadium in the competition's first round, and got by far the greatest ovation ever receiver by a Yankee Stadium visitor.
This moment made you feel so good that anyone would have shed a tear of joy watching this live.
48. John Starks Coughs Up The 1994 NBA Finals
The New York Knicks were on the brink of ending their 21-year title-less drought back in 1994. And trust me, to New York sports fans, that's an eternity.
They went into Game 7 of the '94 NBA Finals against the Hakeem Olajuwon-led Rockets in what was sure to be a great game. And it was, but it fell way of the Rockets.
The reason—John Starks.
Starks, who was otherwise worshiped by New York sports fans did not provide the output that the Knicks had come to expect from him. He was historically bad that night and it cost the Knicks a title.
He shot a monumentally bad 2-18 from the field, and continued to shoot despite the fact that he didn't have his shot that night.
Knicks fans look back at this and cry to this day. This was by far their best chance at a title since 1973, and the way things are going right now, this historically bad night for John Starks may only become more depressing for Knick fans.
47. Jesse Owens Debunks The Aryan Myth
Back in 1936 when Hitler ruled the world and dinosaurs roamed the Earth, it was common belief that Aryans were superior to everyone else.
This was only picking up steam going into the 1936 Olympics.
However, these olympics went on to be dominated by Jesse Owens, who was, of course, African-American.
It's tough for us to appreciate this in the days of iPads and laptops, but this was a HUGE deal back then.
You either cried tears of dread as Nazi, or tears of joy as anybody else in the world.
A special moment in sports history.
46. Georgia Beats Japan In The 2007 Little League World Series
Suck it, Japan!
These little kids will most certainly make the waterworks flow from your eyes.
45. Jared Allen Cuts His Mullet
Don't act like you didn't cry.
44. Michael Jordan Hits The Series Clinching Shot In The 1998 NBA Finals
Everybody in the world knew that 1998 would be Michael Jordan's final NBA season. But nobody knew how he would end his career. However, one thing was for sure- he still had it.
As the game clock started to tick below 20 seconds, the Bulls trailed the Utah Jazz 86-85. Then Michael Jordan did what he had been doing his entire career—he robbed Karl Malone.
Malone seemed destined for a post move score that would have made it a three point game, until MJ came around the edge and stripped the ball from his grasp.
He then calmly dribbled down the court as the clock began to tick down smaller and smaller: 12, 11, 10, and then he took off.
He sprinted for Byron Russell's outside as he seemed sure to drive to the hoop, until he cut back on as perfect a crossover as I'd ever seen in my life, stepped back, and shot a fadeaway jumper that has since lived in infamy.
It was unbelievable, that was Jordan's last shot, and everyone knew it. (Let's pretend those years with Washington never happened.)
Michael Jordan was a living legend, and the way he ended his career is the way everyone would have wanted him to. It was remarkable.
43. Gary Anderson's 38-Yard Miss In The 1998 NFC Championship Game
There may not have been as perfect an offense as the 1998 Minnesota Vikings. They set the single season points record and finished the season 15-1.
They were destined to give the Vikings their first Super Bowl in franchise history. And they seemed to face no challenge in the NFC Championship game against the Atlanta Falcons.
Fast forward to the fourth quarter, 2:07 remaining in the game. Minnesota leads Atlanta 27-20, and are on the Falcons 20-yard line, setting up a 38-yard chip shot for Gary Anderson who had not missed a kick all season.
Sure enough, Anderson hooks it, the Falcons get the ball, score a touchdown, and win in overtime, leaving the Vikings with arguably the greatest team to ever not win a Super Bowl.
I'm pretty sure most Minnesota residents are balling at this time.
42. Rangers 1994 Stanley Cup Celebration
Back in 1994 the Rangers were in the midst of a 54-year championship drought. Keep in mind these Rangers played in New York which made it equivalent to a 254-year drought.
Sure enough, the Rangers shocked the world on the back of Mark Messier, and wouldn't you know it, Stephane Matteau.
When the waiting was finally over, the Rangers shared an emotional moment with the Madison Square Garden crowd, that had never been as loud as it was that night.
Just watch the video, you'll see what I mean.
41. 4th and Forever, Eagles Vs. Packers 2004 NFC Divisional Playoff Game
Back in the 2004 NFC Divisional Playoff Round, the fourth-seeded Packers had the top-seeded Eagles beaten. With 1:16 left in the game the Eagles faced a fourth-and-26 on their own 26-yard line.
There was no way the Packers could let them convert a fourth-and-26. Not even possible.
Or was it?
Donovan McNabb found a wide open Freddie Mitchell (?) over the middle for the conversion.
As a Packer let me tell you first hand, I cried.
40. Ray Bourque
Twenty-two years, one Stanley Cup victory. 'Nuff said.
39. Brett Favre's First Retirement
I know it sounds stupid know, but no fanbase in the history of sports was ever as attached to a player as the Green Bay Packers were to Brett Favre.
And to have him walk away after a 13-3 season, which featured them one overtime from the Super Bowl, had all of Cheesehead Universe was in morning.
Literally, several Green Bay stores were closed because of Favre's decision, and every soul in Green Bay was crying.
You don't see that everywhere.
38. Marion Jones Steroid Admission
When Marion Jones proclaimed, "I have been dishonest," with tears in her eyes, I cried, and so did you. Whether you want to admit it or not.
37. Anytime Reggie MiIller Played The Knicks
As a Knicks fan, let me tell you, there are two simple words you can go to New York and recite when you're ready to kick the bucket—Regie Miller.
Never did one player terrorize a fanbase more.
36. Mike Piazza Hits First Home Run After 9/11
The nation was in depression after 9/11, but when Mike Piazza unloaded on an eighth-inning pitch to put the Mets ahead 2-1 in the first baseball game played since 9/11, strangers hugged each other in the isles, and for a moment everything was OK.
This is a tear-jerking moment that I will never forget.
35. Jack Buck, "For America"
Speaking of 9/11, on re-opening day each team decided to hold a patriotic ceremony before each game.
None more memorable than that of the St. Louis Cardinals.
This may not seem as sad watching today, but when our nation was still in mourning back in 2001, this brought the most stolid of men to tears.
34. Ernie Davis Dies Of Leukemia Weeks After Being Drafted
Ernie Davis succeeded Jim Brown as the running back for the Syracuse Orangemen in 1959, and became the first African American to ever win the Heisman.
Davis, who was mentored by Jim Brown, was supposed to be even better than him. He was taken first overall in the 1962 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins, who quickly traded him to the Cleveland Browns who were salivating at the mouth over a possible Brown-Davis duo.
However, Davis' career never got off the ground as he was diagnosed with leukemia just weeks after being drafted, and died of the disease before ever playing an NFL game.
Davis was also the subject of the 2008 movie, The Express.
33. Luis Gonzalez Ends The Yankee Dynasty In a Bloop
It was the 2001 World Series, the Yankees had won four of the last five Fall Classics.
They seemed unbeatable, and most people were shocked that Arizona took them to seven games.
When the Yankees took the lead in the eighth inning, it was over. Mariano Rivera would enter for the two inning save, and the game would be over.
Nobody scored on Mo in the playoffs. That was a fact. He was unhittable. Well he was, except for one crisp night in 2001.
In the bottom of the ninth he did something that a total of negative one people predicted—he blew the game.
He allowed a two-run ninth, highlighted by Luis Gonzalez's game-winning bloop single.
Yankee fans cried tears of sorrow knowing that this was the end of their dynasty, while the rest of the world cried tears of joy because somebody was finally able to beat those damned Yankees.
32. Michael Oher Gets Drafted In The First Round
If you don't know this story by now I really suggest you rent The Blindside.
31. Cal Ripken Jr. Takes a Lap
Cal Ripken Jr., baseball's ultimate iron-man.
Ripken went out their every day, and played without complaining, and had a respect from the Orioles fanbase like nothing I'd ever seen before in my life.
So when he finally broke Lou Gehrig's consecutive games streak record, they would not stop cheering. After five innings had passed he went out for a curtain call, then took his place in the dugout.
However, he was forced to come back out when the Baltimore crowd would not stop cheering. They went on and on and on and on and on, eventually forcing Cal to take a lap around the stadium.
It was an extremely touching moment.
30. Jason McElwain Scores 20 Points
Jason McElwain, who has been diagnosed with autism, loved the game of basketball.
He helped his high school team practice all season long, until he finally got his. And he got it in a big way.
McElwain got a standing ovation as soon as he took the court, and he could have done nothing the rest of the game, and it would have been fine.
But no, McElwain kept shooting and shooting and shooting, and he kept hitting and hitting and hitting. He went for over 20 points that night, and was then carried off the court.
29. The Edmonton Oilers Trade Wayne Gretzky
This is one of those, "What the f@#k were you thinking?!" moments.
I can assure that when Gretzky was traded, he wasn't the only man in Edmonton crying.
28. Alex Rodriguez Gets Busted For Steroids
Just a few years ago, Alex Rodriguez was supposed to stand for all that was good with baseball.
He was clean in an era that nobody else seemed to be. He was supposed to bring the all-time Home Run record back to respectability, but it turned out he would just bring it more shame.
The world depended on this man, and he disappointed us all.
To baseball purists, this was a dagger to the heart.
27. Charles Smith's Blown Layups and Patrick Ewing's Missed Fingerolls
It was Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals when Knicks forward Charles Smith blew four straight layups that would have resulted in a Knicks win.
It was Game 7 of the 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals when Patrick Ewing blew a fingeroll that would have sent the Knicks to the next round.
Both of these balls should have been dunked, and both of these players made Knicks fans everywhere tear up.
26. Kerri Strug Wins The 1996 Gold Medal Vault On One Leg
Kerri Strug stepped up to the vault in 1996 needing a score of 9.493 or better to win the Gold for her country.
On her first attempt, she fell short and landed awkwardly on her ankle, injuring it. At this time it did not look good for the USA. She was their only hope at gold, and with her limping around after her first attempt, they seemed to have no hope at all.
But then it happened.
Strug ran down and performed an amazing, surely good enough vault on one leg. It was the ultimate showing of patriotism and courage.
It was one of those moments that actually makes you proud to be an American.
25. Chris Webber's Timeout Blunder
I'll do Michigan fans a favor and not talk about this one.
24. The Miracle On Ice
"Do you believe in miracles? Yes!"
"Do you believe in crying over sports? Yes!"
23. Thurman Munson Dies
Thurman Munson was just passing his prime years in 1979 when he had a death that touched the hearts of the entire universe.
Munson was one of the most well-liked men in baseball, and his death came far too soon. It also came right smack in the middle of the 1979 MLB campaign.
A sad, sad day for the sports world.
22. Red Sox Reverse The Curse
2004 seemed no different than any other year.
The Red Sox and Yankees, arguably the two best teams in baseball, locked up in the 2004 ALCS where the Yankees were sure to advance to the Fall Classic once again.
They jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the series, and it seemed to be all over but the crying.
Until, the Red Sox forged the greatest comeback in baseball history as they reversed the Curse of the Bambino which had plagued them for 86 years.
They won four straight and shocked the Yankees.
Red Sox fans were partying like they were on top of the world. It was finally over. After 86 years the Sox finally beat the Yankees.
Red Sox fans shed tears of joy, while Yankee fans shed tears of disbelief and sorrow.
21. Brett Favre Throws For 399 Yards The Day After His Dad Dies
Just one day after his dad passed away, Brett Favre decided to play on December 22, 2003.
It was an extremely emotional game and one that will not be soon forgotten.
It was enough that Favre was playing in the game, the fact that he threw for 399 yards and four touchdowns was absolutely outstanding.
This is something we can all relate with.
20. Scott Norwood Wide Right
Do yourself a favor here and Google "Wide Right." If you're not from Buffalo you won't be sorry you did.
19. Aaron Bleepin' Boone Wins The 2003 ALCS In One Swing
The year was 2003. The Red Sox were on the verge of ending the Curse of the Bambino in its 85th year.
It was Game 7 of the season's legendary ALCS. The game went into extra innings where it was completely up for grabs.
As the game went into the 11th inning Red Sox's pitcher Tim Wakefield faced the seemingly harmless Aaron Boone who had entered the game earlier as a pitch runner.
However, Boone, who had done next to nothing with the lumber throughout his career, hit a home run in what was one of the most dramatic scenes in baseball history.
You could see the tears building up in Aaron's brother (Mariners second baseman Bret Boone) eyes, and anybody who had any passion for the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry at that time was doing the same.
18. Jim Valvano ESPY Speech
Jimmy V forever lives in our hearts.
17. Jackie Smith's Dropped Touchdown Pass In Super Bowl XIII
The scene was Super Bowl XIII and the Dallas Cowboys trailed the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-14 in the third quarter.
On third down, Cowboys’ quarterback spotted reserve tightend Jackie Smith wide open in the endzone for what should have been an easy 10-yard touchdown pass, but Smith dropped the pass which hit him right in the hands and the Cowboys were forced to settle for a field goal which cut the deficit to four.
The Cowboys lost the game by four points… ‘Nuff said.
16. Len Bias Dies After Being Drafted
Going into the 1986 NBA draft the Boston Celtics had been to the NBA Finals in each of the last four seasons.
Coming off a finals loss in 1986 the Celtics traded up in the draft to bolster their roster with the second pick, Len Bias.
Bias was supposed to return the Celtics to being NBA Champions, but his career never got off the ground after he died of a cocaine overdose before ever playing an NBA game.
Bias cursed the Celtics and they didn’t return to the Finals until 2008.
15. The Saints Return To The Superdome
After one of the most deadly storms in U.S history hit Louisiana, (Hurricane Katrina) the New Orleans Saints were forced out of their home stadium which was being used to store bodies.
Some believed that the loser franchise Saints would never return to New Orleans or the Superdome.
Oh boy were they wrong.
The Saints returned to the Louisiana Superdome in 2006, just one year after Hurricane Katrina on September 24, 2006. They hosted the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football in one of the most emotional games in NFL history.
The Saints blew out the superior Falcons, 23-3, in a performance that was out of this world.
The crowd was really behind ‘em that night. Maybe the loudest crowd I’ve ever heard. Nobody was beating the Saints that night. Not the ’85 Bears, not the ’98 Vikings, nobody! The Saints were a symbol of New Orleans finally coming out of hiding, and reinstating itself as “The Big Easy.”
14. Andres Escobar Murdered
Back in the 1994 FIFA World Cup, Andres Escobar scored on his own goal resulting in gambling losses to several drug lords.
Several days later he was murdered.
One of the times where some guys got a little too into the game.
To this day, it is still one of the saddest deaths in sports history.
13. One Yard Short, Super Bowl XXXIV
It must suck to be a Titans fan.
12. Magic Johnson Announces He's HIV Positive
Think about it, one of the five greatest basketball players of all time, still playing at an extremely high level, just retires out of the blue.
That's what happened to all-time great point guard Magic Johnson, who came out and announced he was HIV Positive on November 7th, 1991.
Keep in mind, back in 1991, there was much less information about HIV, many people believed it was much worse than it actually was.
This was shocking and upsetting.
11. The Baltimore Colts Ditch For Indianapolis
On March 27th, 1984 the Baltimore Colts were in Baltimore like they should have been.
However, on March 28th, 1984 at 2:00 AM, the Colts packed up their belongings into 17 trucks and headed for Indianapolis.
However, until they woke up that morning, not one soul from Baltimore knew of the relocation.
How would you like that? To just wake up one morning to the news that the professional sports team that you got behind, supported, and attended games for just packed up and left without even a simple warning or goodbye.
It sounds like getting your heart ripped out of your chest.
10. Steve Bartman Costs The Cubs The 2003 NLCS
When you've gone almost a century without a championship, you're willing to blame anybody for a loss.
Back in 2003, the Chicago Cubs had their best chance in over 60 years to be World Series Champions. They had a great team and a 3-0 lead in Game Six of the NLCS, a game that would have sent them to the World Series with a win.
Just five outs from the Fall Classic the Cubs were pumped and destiny seemed to be on their side, until Marlins' second basemen Luis Castillo hit a pop fly into foul play.
It seemed to be a routine play for Cubs left fielder Moises Alou, until Steve Bartman got in his way. Alou was pissed, jumping up and down in anger.
The Cubs quickly got into position anxious to get those last five outs. But they just choked the game up. The Marlins exploded for eight runs in the inning.
Many people hold Steve Bartman accountable for this choke, but whether it was his fault or not, Cubs fans everywhere were tearing up at the possibility of letting another opportunity slip through their fingertips.
9. Bill Buckner's Error
Just one out away from winning the 1986 World Series, the Red Sox were ready to celebrate.
Mookie Wilson stepped to the plate as the Mets final hope, and after dragging out a long at-bat, Wilson hit a little dribbler down the first base line that wouldn't have been a difficult play in Little League, but sure enough it went right through the legs of Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner.
And the Mets took Game 6 and then Game 7.
It's OK to cry sometimes, Boston!
8. Derek Redmond Finishes The Race With Dad
In the 1992 Olympic 400-meter semi-finals, injury prone sprinter Derek Redmond hurt his achilles halfway through the race, and he went down.
He was down for several seconds as the stretchers started to come out onto the track, but Redmond called them off, he was determined to finish that race.
He hobbled the last 200 meters with the pain etched onto his face. And halfway through his dad joined him as they walked the last 100 meters together.
It was what the olympics are all about and a special moment in sports history.
7. Lou Gehrig's Farewell Speech
God bless Lou Gehrig.
6. Pat Tillman Leaves For Military, Dies In Friendly Fire
In May 2002, Cardinals' All-Pro safety Pat Tillman turned down a $3 million contract to join the military, and fight in the Iraqi war.
Talk about patriotism, nobody had more than Tillman who ended his career just as it was getting started to defend our country.
If that's not enough to make you tear up, then the fact that Tillman died in a friendly fire while in the military should be.
5. Dale Earnhardt Dies In NASCAR Crash
To this day this is arguably the saddest death in sports history. He died doing what he did best—driving a race car.
4. The Cleveland Sports Fourpack
The Fumble, The Decision, The Drive, and The Shot.
Proof that god hates Cleveland sports.
And proof that nobody will doubt a man from Cleveland, Ohio for crying.
3. 1970 Marshall Plane Crash
Southerns Airways Flight 932 was supposed to be transporting the entire Marshall football team to Ceredo, West Virginia.
The plane crashed.
However, it was no ordinary crash, not one passenger survived.
That's right, not one. The entire Marshall football team was wiped out.
Unfathomable. This is something that thankfully comes only once a millenium, but is by far one of the most depressing moments in sports history.
2. Jackie Robinson Breaks The Baseball Color Barrier
Some things are better left unexplained. This is one of the most important moments in U.S history, and also one that makes you so happy you're forced to shed a tear.
1. The Munich Olympic Massacre
The 1972 Munich Olympics were unfortunately headlined by one thing—The Munich Massacre.
For those of you who don't know, the Munich Massacre was when members of the Israeli Olympic Team were taken hostage and eventually murdered by the terrorist group Black September.
Eleven Israeli athletes and coaches were killed in this sick event.
I think we were all crying during this one.