There were some truly amazing moments in sports over the past year. Not only did a few teams exercise demons and curses to finally win championships, but there were some spectacular individual performances and milestones as well – especially with the Rio Olympics in August. Plus, there were many emotional, and some surprising, retirements in the world of sports over the past year. We took a look back over the year that was in sports to compile this list of the 10 best moments from 2016. Enjoy.
10. Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan Retire
We thought about writing separately about the retirements of basketball superstars Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan from the NBA, but then realized that the two future Hall of Famers careers are so intricately connected, and their personal styles so different, that it became difficult to separate one from the other. During the 15 years from 1999 to 2014, Kobe Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers and Tim Duncan’s San Antonio Spurs each won five NBA championships – combining for 10 championships between the two teams over a 15 year period. Just as the Celtics and Lakers dominated basketball in the 1980s, so did the Lakers and Spurs dominate in the 2000s.
Individual accolades aside, the two perennial All-Stars could not have more different personal styles. The best illustration of this is the way in which the two players handled their retirement from the league. Kobe announced via Twitter that the 2015-16 season would be his last, kicking off a year long “Goodbye Tour” across the NBA that culminated in a massive tribute at the All-Star game in Toronto and 60 points in his final game. In contrast, Tim Duncan waited until the season ended and then had the Spurs issue a short statement in July announcing that the two-time MVP was calling it a career. No public comment, no press conference, nothing. Tim Duncan left the NBA in the same way that he had dominated it for nearly two decades – quietly.