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Top 10 Most Emotional Sports Moments

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp

Script written by Nathan Sharp

Sports are more than just the games. WatchMojo counts down the Top 10 Most Emotional Sports Moments.

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Script written by Nathan Sharp

Top 10 Most Emotional Sports Moments


Sports are more than just the games. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Most Emotional Sports Moments.



For this list, we’ll be looking at 10 of the most emotional moments throughout sports history. We’ll be including moments both on and off the field, whether it’s a specific play during a game or an emotional moment in a player’s personal life. We won’t be including any on-field injuries or resulting deaths.




#10: Mariano Rivera's Goodbye



Love or hate the Yankees, there’s no denying the emotional power that was Mariano Rivera’s departure. Rivera spent 17 seasons as the Yankees’ closer, and is known as one of the best closers in MLB history, winning five World Series titles and making 13 All-Star Game appearances. On September 26, 2013, Rivera pitched his final game and was ceremoniously removed from the game by Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter. Rivera embraced his long-time teammates and cried to the sounds of the roaring home crowd as he walked off the field. It served as a fittingly emotional end to an era, and a heart-warming goodbye to one of the game’s greatest players.



#9: Brazil's 7-1 Loss to Germany



This infamous game is either devastatingly heartbreaking or absolutely hilarious, depending on who you ask. July 8, 2014 was the fateful day of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Semi-Final between Brazil and Germany. The game was highly anticipated, but Brazilian hearts soon shattered as Germany scored four goals in a span of six minutes, and the home crowd quickly lost all hope. The filmed reactions of the crowd were heart wrenching, as fans were left in tears as they watched their team become worldwide laughing stocks. The Brazilian team was nationally shamed and humiliated, and various international media outlets called it the biggest disaster in World Cup history.



#8: Dee Gordon's Home Run



On September 25, 2016, Miami Marlins’ pitcher José Fernández died in a tragic boating accident at just 24 years old. The next day, teammate Dee Gordon served as the first Marlins batter of the game, and adapted Fernández’s batting stance to honor his teammate. He then switched to his normal stance and belted his first home run of the season to massive cheers from the crowd and the Marlins bench. Gordon cried as he rounded the bases, and embraced his teammates after reaching home. It was a beautiful tribute to a teammate – and most importantly, a friend.


#7: Kevin Durant's Mother is the Real MVP



This moment was kind of ruined by the resulting memes, and many people either forget or don’t know just how powerful the speech actually was. In 2014, Kevin Durant was honored as the league MVP, and proceeded to give an intensely emotional acceptance speech. The tears immediately began streaming when Durant directly addressed his mom, who was sitting in the crowd, and only got stronger as he relayed stories of her life as a struggling single mother. It’s a beautiful speech that makes us want to call our mothers and thank them for all they’ve done for us… and maybe make a meme or two while we’re at it.


#7: Kevin Durant's Mother is the Real MVP



This moment was kind of ruined by the resulting memes, and many people either forget or don’t know just how powerful the speech actually was. In 2014, Kevin Durant was honored as the league MVP, and proceeded to give an intensely emotional acceptance speech. The tears immediately began streaming when Durant directly addressed his mom, who was sitting in the crowd, and only got stronger as he relayed stories of her life as a struggling single mother. It’s a beautiful speech that makes us want to call our mothers and thank them for all they’ve done for us… and maybe make a meme or two while we’re at it.


#6: Brett Favre Throws for 399 Yards After His Dad Dies



Similar to Dee Gordon’s home run, Brett Favre honored his dad in a spectacular way on December 22, 2003. One day earlier, Favre’s father passed away at 58. Knowing that his father would have wanted him to play, Favre traveled to Oakland with the Packers, and proceeded to throw for 399 yards. It was a stellar game for the quarterback, as he completed 73% of his passes, passed for four touchdowns, and recorded a brilliant passer rating of 154.9. Favre later stated that he knew his father was watching, and Brett gave him one of the best performances of his entire career.


#5: Derek Redmond Runs with His Father



Derek Redmond was an accomplished British sprinter whose career was unfortunately ruined by injuries. At the 1988 Olympics, Redmond pulled out of the 400-meter race due to an injured Achilles tendon. Four years and eight operations later, Redmond returned to the Olympics and made it to the semi-finals. However, his hamstring tore during the race, and he collapsed to the ground. While hobbling to the finish line, his father made his way past security to help his son finish the race. Seeing a father lend emotional and physical support to his son is heart-warming, and this moment is now remembered as one of the most notable and awe-inspiring events in Olympics history.


#4: The Oilers Trade Gretzky



Trades can be emotional, especially if the traded player has been with a franchise for many years. But the trade of Wayne Gretzky was something else entirely. Gretzky was the most dominant hockey player of the ‘80s, leading the Edmonton Oilers to four Stanley Cup victories and setting numerous scoring records in the process. However, Gretzky was later traded to the Los Angeles Kings, which upset many Canadians. Some saw him as a national traitor, and a Member of Parliament even tried to rally the Canadian government into blocking the trade. It wasn’t a success, and the country was left in mourning as their biggest hockey star departed for L.A.


#3: Magic Johnson is HIV Positive



The HIV/AIDS crisis took flight during the ‘80s and led to the deaths of numerous celebrities, including Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. The disease was often linked to homosexual relations and unfortunately developed a stigma, leading many celebrities to keep their diagnosis a secret. This wouldn’t be the case for Magic Johnson. In a press conference on November 7, 1991 (only 17 days before Mercury’s death), Johnson announced he was HIV-positive, and was retiring from basketball. Rumors quickly spread that Johnson was gay, but he denied this and became a spokesperson for AIDS awareness. Johnson has helped the world understand and accept the deadly disease, and was later hailed as a hero by the press and President George H.W. Bush.


#2: Lou Gehrig’s Farewell Speech



From 1923 to 1939, Lou Gehrig, served as the New York Yankees’ first baseman, and became one of the greatest baseball players in history. A seven-time All-Star, two-time American League MVP and six-time World Series champion, he played 2,130 consecutive games before being diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, now more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Gehrig was forced to retire and later gave a farewell speech to a sold-out Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1939. Two years later, Gehrig succumbed to the disease. His speech was widely praised by the media and is now regarded as an iconic piece of sports history.


#1: Mike Piazza’s Home Run



There’s simply no sport as romantic as baseball. Mike Piazza hit over 400 home runs during his 16-year career, but one stands out among the rest. This iconic homer was hit on September 21, 2001, only 10 days after 9/11. The game that night between the Mets and the Braves was the first sporting event to be held in New York since the attack, and Piazza hit a home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to lead the Mets to victory. It was an incredibly cathartic moment for New York, and it provided the grieving city with a brief flash of merriment and optimism – an emotional release the Big Apple desperately needed.
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