20 Iconic Sports Photos That You Need To See
20 Iconic Sports Photos That You Must See
Since the invention of the picture camera, the use of photography has been used throughout the world as a way to document and keep a real life account of events. The reason for why this is can't be better defined than with the age-old popular saying, "a picture is worth 1000 words."
This use of pictures as historical documents has not been better utilized than through sports photography. Nearly since the time that sports became a part of popular culture in the early 1900s, there have been publications such as USA TODAY, Sports Illustrated, Getty Images and the Associated Press present to take pictures of our favorite athletes.
When these people started going to events and taking these pictures, they would appear in newspapers as snapshots of what happened during a game. They represented the closest that people could get to a game without actually being present. As a result, there was something sort of iconic about the pictures that were showing up on people's kitchen tables as the stories of grandeur were now sitting right next to them.
Of course, fans have received more and more access to seeing and hearing professional athletes through the use of television and the internet, but interestingly enough, sports photography has lived on. The reason for this could very well date back to that age-old saying, but there is something extremely personal and interesting about looking at a photograph.
As sports photography has long held a special place in the hearts of sports fans, I have decided to construct a list of 20 epic sports photos that every sports fan must see.
20. Derek Jeter
When Derek Jeter went diving into the Yankee Stadium stands on July 1, 2004 to catch a ball, many people were legitimately scared for his health. Jeter had no such fears though, as he came out with the ball in what became a seminal moment that would go on to describe the courage that has defined his career.
19. Jimmy Valvano
When NC State upset the University of Houston in the 1983 NCAA Basketball Championship game, there was no doubting how big of an upset it was. After all, Houston had Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler on their roster, while NC State had been a long shot to even advance to the NCAA Tournament. When the final game was all said and done, there was no holding back the emotions of the legendary Jimmy Valvano, who would later become well known for his battle with cancer.
18. Michigan State and UNC
On November 11, 2011, Michigan State and UNC participated in a live college basketball game on the USS Carl Vinson. The game attracted both high-profile people such as United States President Barack Obama, and spawned the creation of the yearly Armed Forces Classic.
17. Michael Jordan
After winning the 1987 Slam Dunk Contest, there were huge expectations put on Michael Jordan's shoulders heading into the event in 1988. Luckily for fans, he put on an absolute show, jumping from the free throw line to convert his third dunk and collect both a rare perfect score and a second consecutive dunk contest championship.
16. Dennis Rodman
During Dennis Rodman's career, he became known as a somewhat eccentric character, but nevertheless maintained a reputation as one of the most hard-nosed athletes in the world. When this picture was captured of him full-out diving for a ball, it only cemented the belief in his willingness to go all-out, and turned into the model image for the type of effort young basketball players should give.
15. Pete Rose and Ray Fosse
When Jim Hickman hit a single up the middle during the 12th inning of the 1970 All-Star Game to send Pete Rose around third base with the opportunity to score the winning run for the NL, it was clear the play would be close. When Rose saw this, he decided to run over catcher Ray Fosse, and spawned what has become the most infamous play in the history of any All-Star Game. Rose did score the game-winning run, but it came at the expense of a broken shoulder for Fosse, who would never be the same player ever again.
14. Cal Ripken Jr.
On September 6, 1995 Cal Ripken Jr. lined up at third base for the Baltimore Orioles for what would be his 2131st consecutive game played. This broke the decades-long record of Lou Gehrig, and sparked a standing ovation before the bottom of the fifth inning from the Orioles players, their fans, the Los Angeles Angels and the four umpires that lasted an astounding 22 minutes. During the ovation, Ripken went around the field to pay homage to the fans that had helped motivate him to stay in the lineup even when he was dinged up.
13. Kevin Dyson
Super Bowl XXXIV came down to its last play, and when Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kevin Dyson caught the ball, it appeared he was destined for a game-winning touchdown. Unfortunately, St. Louis Rams linebacker Mike Jones remembered that game was still going on and made a miraculous tackle to clinch the game for the Rams. The play turned out to be both the most clutch defensive play in the history of the Super Bowl, and an iconic moment in American sports.
12. Michael Jordan
In what would turn out to be his last shot as a Chicago Bulls star, the legendary Michael Jordan hit the 1998 NBA Finals-winning shot. It was the quite possibly the most memorable moment in the career of the best basketball player ever, and left many longing for more from Jordan. Unfortunately when he did return, it was as a member of the Washington Wizards, but like many people, we have decided to block that time out and remember this as the end of a legend's reign.
11. David Tyree and Rodney Harrison
On February 3, 2008, New York Giants wide receiver David Tyree made the best catch in the history of the Super Bowl by going over New England Patriots safety Rodney Harrison to catch a crucial 32-yard pass from Eli Manning. The catch came on a third down with only 2:42 left in the game, and helped spark the Giants' Super Bowl-clinching drive.
10. Bobby Martin
Bobby Martin was born with no legs as a result of Caudal regression syndrome, and as a result stands three feet tall and weighs 110 pounds. These limitations would not keep Martin from playing football for Mount Healthy High School though, as he recorded 48 tackles during his senior season.
9. Brandi Chastain
On July 10,1999, Brandi Chastain converted the penalty that won the Women's World Cup for the United States, in the process inspiring a generation of female soccer players. Chastain understandably could not contain her celebration when after scoring, and when she slid into the grass with only her sports bra on, the most iconic image in the history of women's sports was captured.
8. Hank Aaron
When Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run on April 8, 1974, he broke Babe Ruth's longstanding record of 714 home runs. This record was the most sacred in all of baseball until the steroid era ravaged the record books, but nevertheless, Aaron's place in history will live on forever.
7. Derek Redmond and His Father
When Derek Redmond's hamstring snapped in the semifinal of the 400-meter sprint at the 1992 Olympics, there were plenty of people who expected him to stop running, including medical personnel at the race. Redmond did not give in to injury though, as he got up and hobbled to the finish line with the help of his father, who forced his way past stadium security to be with his son. It is safe to say that this photo will live on for the rest of history as a mark of both perseverance and the unbreakable bond between a father and son.
6. Yogi Berra and Don Larsen
After Don Larsen threw the only perfect game in World Series history in 1956, there was no holding back the emotions of catcher Yogi Berra, who went sprinting into the pitchers arms. When this embrace was caught on camera, there was no doubting that it would become a photo for the history books.
5. Tommie Smith and John Carlos
This display of fists in the air for Tommie Smith and John Carlos came during medal ceremony for the 200-meter dash at the 1968 Olympics. When Smith and Carlos displayed this to show a solidarity in the fight for equality around the world, they were lambasted by many, and were even forced to leave the Olympic Village by IOC President Avery Brundage. Their display would not go unnoticed though, and it served as a seminal moment in the fight for equal rights for minorities in the United States and around the world.
4. Muhammad Ali and Cleveland Williams
This photo came right after Muhammad Ali knocked out Cleveland Williams and defended his heavyweight title. The bout was expected to be a great fight, but after Ali knocked out Williams in the third round, the Houston Astrodome crowd of 35,460 was left to go earlier than expected with the satisfaction of having seen the best fighter ever put on a show.
3. 1980 USA Olympic Hockey Team
This photograph came directly after the United States men's ice hockey team upset the powerhouse Soviet Union by a score of 4-3 in what came to be known as the Miracle on Ice. The game came amidst immense tensions between the two nations, and gave the United States both a crucial win on their way to a gold medal and a morale boost for millions of people around the country.
2. Willie Mays
This picture of the great Wilie Mays occurred on September 29, 1954, and turned out to be key play as the then-New York Giants won Game 1 of the World Series. The play epitomized the skill that Mays displayed, and instantly turned him into a legend.
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