Top Sports Moments of 2018
January 14, 2019
From a Philly special to some surprising offseason moves, 2018 had plenty of moments in sports that never ceased to shock fans across the world. Here is the Panther’s top 10 moments in sports from 2018.
HONORABLE MENTION: Miami Marlins overhaul their roster
Although the overhaul technically started in late 2017, the Marlins trading away several star players makes the list as an honorable mention since it heavily impacted the 2018 season. The Marlins traded away 2017 MVP Giancarlo Stanton, 2018 MVP Christian Yelich (who won it with the Brewers last season), 2015 National League batting champion Dee Gordon and two-time All Star Marcell Ozuna. The Marlins’ win total dropped from 77 wins in 2017 to 63 wins in 2018 as the Marlins are looking to rebuild once again. The most notable moment of the Marlins’ season was when pitcher Jose Ureña hit Braves rookie Ronald Acuña with a pitch, leading to Ureña being suspended for six games.
- Khalil Mack traded to the Chicago Bears
This past offseason, 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack was hoping to sign a long-term extension with his team, the Oakland Raiders, rather than playing out the final year of his deal. However, the Raiders did not want to agree to a long-term deal with Mack and chose to trade him to the Chicago Bears instead. Mack was sent to Chicago along with a 2020 second round pick and conditional 2020 fifth round pick, while the Raiders got the Bears’ 2019 and 2020 first round picks, along with future third and sixth round picks. As of now, it appears that the Bears won the trade. The Bears won the NFC North division and improved from five wins last season to 12 this season before falling to the Philadelphia Eagles in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Raiders dropped from 6-10 to 4-12 without Mack, and since the Bears finished with one of the league’s best records, the pick the Raiders got from the Bears will be the 24th pick in the 2018 NFL draft.
- DeMarcus Cousins signing with the Warriors
Former Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins opted to sign a one year, $5.3 million contract with the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors. Despite Cousins tearing his left Achilles tendon in January, most fans expected Cousins to sign a more expensive deal and were infuriated that the Warriors had added a fifth All-Star to their line up (Cousins was named an All-Star in 2018 despite his injury). However, Cousins’s signing would take a backseat this offseason due to another free agent signing this past offseason (see number three).
- Kareem Hunt cut from Kansas City Chiefs after video emerged of him beating a woman
Kareem Hunt was in one of the best possible situations for an NFL player. He was on the Kansas City Chiefs, one of the best teams in the league, and racked up a total of 14 touchdowns on the year. Hunt was likely to be a Pro Bowl selection and would have been a huge contributor when the playoffs came around. But that all changed on Nov. 30, when TMZ released a video of him knocking a woman over and kicking her. He was immediately placed on the commissioner’s exempt list and would be released by the Chiefs later on in the day. The Chiefs have also stated that Hunt was not truthful when asked about the altercation, and Hunt still has yet to find a team to sign him. It is unclear whether he will play in the NFL again.
- Boston Red Sox defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games to win 2018 World Series
This year’s World Series featured plenty of notable moments. From a Game Three victory for the Dodgers that extended through 18 innings to Alex Cora being the first MLB Puerto Rican manager to win the World Series, there was plenty of action between the Red Sox and the Dodgers this year. While Los Angeles and Boston are used to facing each other in high-stakes sporting events, such as the Lakers-Celtics rivalry in the NBA, this was only the second time the Dodgers have faced off against the Red Sox in the World Series. Led by left fielder Steve Pearce, who was named this year’s World Series MVP, the Red Sox were able to win their fourth World Series since 2004.
- J.R. Smith forgets the score and costs the Cleveland Cavaliers Game One of the Finals.
No one expected the Cavaliers to win a single game against the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors, who featured four All Stars and two past MVP winners at the time. However, the Cavaliers were almost able to take Game One of the Finals. Cavs guard George Hill was at the free throw line with 4.7 seconds left. The game was tied 107-107. Hill missed the free throw, but Smith came up with the rebound, which could have led to the Cavaliers making one last play to take a shocking game one win. What happened instead will be remembered in the NBA as one of the biggest mistakes in Finals history. Smith dribbled out the ball, believing the Cavs were winning and ignored LeBron James’s signals to get a shot up. By the time Smith realized the score was tied, it was too late and the Cavaliers were unable to get up a shot in time. The Cavaliers went on to lose in overtime and would end up being swept by the Warriors.
- Washington Capitals win their first Stanley Cup
The 2018 Stanley Cup was an exciting match-up between the Washington Capitals and the Vegas Golden Knights. The Capitals made their second finals appearance in team history, the first being in 1998, while the Golden Knights made the finals in their first year in the NHL as they were recently added as an expansion team before the 2017-18 season. In a high-scoring series, the Capitals were able to win the series in five games despite giving up a game one loss. Capitals left wing Alexander Ovechkin was named the Most Valuable Player of the playoffs.
- Colin Kaepernick stars in Nike’s 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign
One of the most polarizing athletes in recent years has been former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. During the 2016 NFL season, Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem as a method of protesting police brutality and black oppression in the United States. Some saw Kaepernick as an activist and hero, while others found his actions disrespectful to the flag and to the nation. After the 2016 season, Kaepernick declined his team option with the 49ers and became a free agent, but has remained unsigned. As a result, Kaepernick’s supporters believe NFL team owners are colluding against Kaepernick because of his protests. Despite not stepping on the field for over a year, Nike made Kaepernick the face of their 30th anniversary ad campaign, with the message of the ads being to “believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything”. Though some fans boycotted Nike after the ad campaign was released, it has been reported by CBS that Nike’s stock increased by five percent following the ad campaign.
- LeBron signs with the Lakers
After a disappointing loss in the Finals to the Golden State Warriors for the second year in a row, NBA superstar LeBron James had to make a tough decision. He started his career playing for his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003 and led them to the franchise’s first Finals appearance in 2007 before joining his friends Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the Miami Heat in 2010. After winning two championships in Miami, LeBron returned to the Cavaliers in 2014 and led the Cavaliers to their first ever NBA championship in 2016. However, James, who has made the Finals for eight straight seasons, decided it was time for a fresh start and opted to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers on a four year, $154 million deal. James is hoping to revive the Lakers franchise, which hasn’t made the playoffs since 2013.
- France edges out Croatia to win 2018 World Cup
This year’s World Cup featured plenty of shocking moments. Panama and Iceland made their first appearance in the World Cup, while the United States missed it for the first time since 1986. This year’s tournament was held in Russia, leading fans to believe that the Russian soccer team would win. However, Russia was knocked out by Croatia in the quarterfinals with the score coming out to 2-2 (Croatia won 4-3 in penalty kicks). Another powerhouse team that was knocked out before the final match was England, who lost in the semifinals to Croatia as well by a score of 2-1. England went on to lose in the third place game against Belgium by a score of 2-0. Despite Croatia knocking several strong teams out of the tournament, they would fall short in the finals against France, who defeated Croatia 4-2 and claimed their second World Cup victory.
- Nick Foles leads Eagles to Super Bowl victory over Patriots
This year’s Super Bowl will go down as a game for the ages. The Philadelphia Eagles, who went 13-3 to win the NFC, were without starting quarterback Carson Wentz because of a season-ending torn ACL in Week 14. The Eagles were matched up against five-time Super Bowl champion and four-time Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady, who had led the New England Patriots to their eighth Super Bowl since 2001. However, despite Brady throwing for 505 yards and three touchdowns, Eagles backup quarterback Nick Foles helped lead Philly to their first ever Super Bowl victory, beating the Patriots 41-33. Foles threw for 373 yards and three touchdowns, as well as catching a touchdown thrown his way by tight end Trey Burton. Brady, on the other hand, was also thrown a pass but failed to catch it and also lost a fumble in the final 3 minutes of the game. Overall, this game was full of legendary performances and will be remembered long past 2018.