Aidan Murray, Sports Reporter

Professional sports in 2020 have been affected in ways that one year ago many people would never have imagined. Almost every sport has been cut off for a period of time due to the pandemic, however, it seems as if there were plenty of sports moments to make up for the time lost. Here are some of the top professional sports moments from 2020. 

  1. Los Angeles Lakers win NBA championship in honor of Kobe Bryant:

The world was beyond shocked to hear the news of the death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gigi Bryant and seven others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif. on Jan. 26. To pay homage to Bryant, the Lakers devoted their whole season to him, making it their goal to win the championship in his honor. One thing that made their goal very challenging was the major three-month pause the NBA had to put on their season due to COVID-19. This didn’t seem to phase the Lakers as they went 12-3 through the first three rounds of the NBA playoffs. The finals were much tighter and went to six games, however, the Lakers came out victorious. They had successfully fulfilled their goal of honoring Kobe’s legacy. 

           “The amazing thing about the [Los Angeles] Lakers [championship] is that they didn’t win for the team…,” sophomore basketball fan Rocco Falls said. “…They won for the person who showed them how to win it with his great mindset and talent of basketball:, Kobe Bryant.”

2. Kansas City Chiefs 24-0 comeback in NFL playoffs:

   In the first game of the NFL playoffs for the Kansas City Chiefs, they got off to a, well, not so hot start. The Houston Texans started off the first half by scoring 24 unanswered points. However, things turned around for the Chiefs in the second half as they made a huge comeback thanks to standout performances by quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce. Mahomes completed 23-35 passes and threw for 321 yards. Kelce had three touchdowns in the eventual 51-31 win by the Chiefs. The momentum from this game eventually led to the chiefs beating the red-hot Tennessee Titans in the second round, and beating the San Francisco 49ers to win their first Super Bowl in 50 years.

  1. Alex Ovechkin scores his 700th NHL goal:

A few minutes into the third quarter of a regular season game against the New Jersey Devils, the Washington Capitals’ Left Wing Alex Ovechkin scored his 700th NHL goal. This milestone made him the eighth player in NHL history to have scored 700 goals and just less than 200 goals away from Wayne Gretzky’s record 894 career goals. 

  1. Zion Williamson makes NBA debut with New Orleans Pelicans:

After missing the first 44 games of the season due to a knee surgery, the first pick of the 2019 draft, Zion Williamson, was ready to make his long-awaited NBA debut on Jan. 22, 2020. Williamson impressed in his first game, scoring 22 points and having seven rebounds. 17 of his 22 points came within a three-minute span in the fourth quarter. Although the outcome of the game was not good for the Pelicans, Williamson’s first NBA game was the main talk in the sports world that night. 

  1. Liverpool’s first Premier League title in 30 years:

After winning the 2020 Premier League, Liverpool FC had snapped their 30-year long drought of being on top. They were mathematically confirmed champions after Chelsea had beaten Manchester City 2-1. Not only did Liverpool make history by winning the league, but they beat the record by clinching the title with five matches left in the Premier League. This was Liverpool’s 19th title win in franchise history. 

With 2020 being a struggle for many, sports were something we could all have to come together for — even if it wasn’t in person — this year through the great moments there were. 

“During a globally difficult time, it can be a challenge to find ways to connect with others,” varsity football player Sean Mitchell said. “One of the best social-connectors throughout American history has been sports, and that remains true in the pandemic. Sports are one of the best ways to connect family, friends, and even strangers.”