25 Most Memorable Sports Plays In History

Although the past century has certainly had its share of memorable moments in sporting, there are certain instances that stand out above the rest. Sometimes it’s something huge like when American sprinter Jesse Owens stood up to the Nazis during the 1936 Olympics in Berlin and other times its something much smaller, like an act of incredible sportsmanship. Whatever it is though, from big to small and everything in between, here are the 25 most memorable sports plays in history.

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20

Cassius Clay Defeats Sonny Liston for Heavyweight Championship (1964)

Cassius Clay Defeats Sonny Liston for Heavyweight Championship 1964

A one-night event on February 25, 1964 in Miami , Florida holds the record witnessing one of the most amazing upsets in the annals of sports when a brash, fast talking, 22-year-old Olympic champion named Cassius Clay held his ground against a menacing heavyweight champion, the indestructible Sonny Liston. Cassius Clay, or the Louisville Lip, would go on to become “Muhammad Ali,” the poster boy of American 20th century sports.

19

Bob Beamon Shatters Long Jump World Record (1968)

Bob Beamon Shatters Long Jump World Record 1968

24-year-old New Yorker Bob Beamon made history on October 18, 1968 when he shattered the Olympic World Record in long jump extraordinarily…by nearly 2 feet. Ralph Boston set the record years before at 27 feet 4 3/4 inches and he coached Beamon through his amazing leap after Beamon failed to qualify for gold on his two previous jumps. With his 6’3 160 lbs 8.90 m frame, he tossed himself 29 feet 2 1/2 inches which was the world record until Mike Powell leaped 2 inches farther during the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo.


18

Immaculate Reception (1972)

Immaculate Reception 1972

This shoestring catch was made by Steelers’ running back Franco Harris at the AFC divisional playoff between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Oakland Raiders, which started the decade of playoff wins for the Steelers, as well as their four Super Bowls. With 22 seconds remaining in the game, the Steelers were trailing behind the Raiders at 7-6, and were on their fourth-and-10 on their own yard line. Franco Harris was in the right place at the right time as he made the interception and ran it all the way back for a touchdown.

17

The Rumble in the Jungle (1974)

The Rumble in the Jungle 1974

This famous boxing match, which was held in Zaire on the 30th of October 1974, pitted the world heavyweight champion at that time, George Foreman, against the former champion, Muhammad Ali. Foreman was the favored player but lost his stamina after several rounds because of Ali’s speed and dodging skills. In the 8th round, Ali gave off a perfect combination of powerful punches knocking Foreman unconscious.


16

The Thrilla in Manila Ali vs. Frazier III (1975)

The Thrilla in Manila Ali vs. Frazier III 1975

Though the “Fight of the Century” in 1971 was arguably the most anticipated and most watched sporting event to date as it was the first official fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, their 3rd fight in Manila, Philippines was considered to be their most memorable not only because it was their last fight, but also due to how it played out. As recorded by sport historians, “the pace of the fight and brutality of the blows was unprecedented for a heavyweight match.” Eddie Futch, Frazier’s trainer, decided to stop the fight in round 14 in spite of the boxer’s protests as he did not want to risk a worse fate for him. Unknown to them, Ali was also signaling his corner to cut his gloves since he didn’t want to fight anymore either. Ali won the fight, however, because Futch threw in the towel first.

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