Sports returned in 2021 (hallelujah!) thanks to vaccinations and booster shots that made leaving the house a little less scary. Things weren’t — and still aren’t — back to normal, but as we reflect on the year there are a few moments that’ll stick with us.
Here are our favorite five:
1. Tom Brady won the Super Bowl and MVP in his first season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom Brady’s legendary status was never in question, but in 2021, he took it to another level by winning a seventh Super Bowl over the Chiefs not only at age 43, but with a different franchise. That’s not easy, and with the numbers he’s putting up this year (36 touchdowns, 11 interceptions) there’s no sign he’s slowing down any time soon.
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 50 points to win the NBA Finals
After back-to-back MVP awards and now a title, The Greek Freak rose to all-timer status in 2021. The then-26-year-old dropped 50 points to close out the Heat in six games on 16-of-25 shooting. And we’ll never forget the Chick-fil-a celebration that followed.
3. Candace Parker took over the basketball with her return home to Chicago
The 14-year vet opted to sign with her hometown Chicago Sky, and her homecoming was… literally awesome. Despite a shaky .500 record and having to play in two single-elimination games, the Sky won their first championship in a four-game series that included one massively broken door. CP3 is a first ballot HOFer. Now we can start asking if she’s one of the best ever.
4. Suni Lee won all-around gymnastics gold
The Tokyo Olympics were finally held with an extremely limited audience, but the most feel-good moment may have been when Lee won the all-around gold. After Simone Biles withdrew, all eyes were on the 18-year-old and she stepped up big time. Hell yeah, Suni!
5. Iman Shumpert won Dancing With the Stars
The NBA’s first dub! Iman absolutely crushed it — and we’re thinking that came with some guidance from his superstar wife Teyana Taylor. Here are his best performances.