Sports

The Ten Most Memorable Miami Sports Moments in the First Year of COVID

Tyler Herro going off has to be included.
Tyler Herro going off has to be included. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty
click to enlarge Tyler Herro going off has to be included. - PHOTO BY KEVIN C. COX/GETTY
Tyler Herro going off has to be included.
It was just over a year ago that the coronavirus shut down South Florida sports. Like nearly everything else in our lives, sports took a backseat to our attempts to slow the spread of a deadly virus few knew anything about.

Twelve months later, sports are still being impacted. From well-below-capacity crowds to players missing games because they came in contact with someone who tested positive, life is definitely not back to normal yet.

It's been a long year that none of us will ever forget. Along the way, there have been some sports memories that will live with us forever, always etched in italics in our minds because of the extraordinary circumstances they happened under.

Here are ten of the most memorable South Florida sports moments that have happened since the coronavirus flipped the sports world on its head one year ago.
The NBA season being postponed. If you're going over the most memorable sports moments from the last year, every city has to start with one moment: The NBA suspending its season on March 11. It's crazy to watch the above video of the Utah Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder canceling their game while a packed house of fans — none wearing masks — sat around and waited.


Nobody knew what was in store for us last March, but this moment ended Miami sports for some time. It was the definitive moment for sports in 2020. Saying we were all in uncharted territory wouldn't begin to describe it.
Tua sitting on the field following his first appearance in a game. It feels like it was three years ago, but it was just this past season that Tua Tagovailoa made his first appearance as a Miami Dolphins player. The mop-up duty won't be what most remember, though. What everyone will forever remember is Tua coming out of the locker room after the game to sit alone on the field and soak it all in.

Many pointed out Tua sat at the 15-yard line, the same point on the field that he injured his hip in his final game at the University of Alabama. If Tua goes on to have a memorable career in Miami, this will be a picture that goes down in Miami sports history.
The Bam block heard around the world. There are many memories from the Miami Heat's storybook run to the NBA Finals last season, but none may be more memorable than Bam Adebayo's game-sealing block of Jayson Tatum in the Eastern Conference Finals. Many called the block the best defensive play in NBA playoffs history. Not that year — in history. Damn.

The moment was the talk of the sports world the next day and will be on the shortlist of Bam Adebayo statue options when his career in Miami is finished.
The Miami Miracle 2.0. This game was over. A wild final three minutes of the Dolphins game against the Las Vegas Raiders last season left them down two with next to nothing on the clock. What happened next would be the most amazing Miami Miracle of all time, if not for a miracle that happened three years earlier that was even more improbable.

This time around, with only a few seconds on the clock, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick found wide receiver Mack Hollins all alone on the sideline for a huge gain. What made the play especially memorable, though, was the fact that Fitzpatrick threw the football while simultaneously having his head nearly ripped off. The result was a completion, a 15-yard-penalty, and, eventually, a game-winning field goal.

The Miami Miracle, part two. The miracles just hit differently during a pandemic. We needed that one.
Tyler Herro being "a bucket" in the playoffs. It feels like two years ago, but it was only a few months ago that Tyler Herro absolutely detonated on the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals. Herro blasted off for 37 points, six rebounds, and five assists in the Heat win, instantly taking his stardom from local to national.

An argument could be made that the top ten Miami moments from sports last year all happened in the NBA bubble. But if we had to narrow it down to just a handful, Tyler Herro going off has to be included.
The Florida Panthers were great again. So, this is literally currently happening, but just because it's happening at the tail-end of the pandemic doesn't mean it doesn't count. The Florida Panthers have surprised everyone early in the year, thus far being one of the best teams in all of hockey. They looked poised to make South Florida care about hockey during a time when it needs something to root for more than ever.

If the Panthers can keep up this pace, their playoff games may be the first packed sporting events most of us have been to since January 2020. That's reason enough to root for them to stay hot.
The Marlins season being postponed because of an outbreak. Last year, the Miami Marlins' season started on July 24 with a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies. After winning two of three, the Marlins had their season shut down because of a massive breakout of the coronavirus in the team's clubhouse. They wouldn't play again until August 4, missing a total of eight games.

Back then, the Marlins were blamed for almost shutting down the sport. Rumors swirled that the outbreak happened because of a team outing at a strip club. When the games began again, the roster was depleted and many of the players who took the field for the next month were complete unknowns.
The Marlins clinching a postseason berth. It wasn't easy, or usual, but amongst all the chaos and obstacles in the way, the Miami Marlins punched their ticket to the postseason last year. The Marlins somehow managed to finish 31-29 last season, good for second in the NL East. That abbreviated success might not seem like a big deal, but anyone who lived through last season and was paying attention will tell you it's a minor miracle the Marlins didn't finish dead-last in all of baseball, with what the franchise endured.

In a year full of disappointments and depression, the Marlins brought their best and overcame. That's what 2020 was about for everyone.
The Miami Heat making the NBA Finals. If there's one sports moment that occurred during the pandemic that Miami will always associate with the coronavirus, it was the Heat making the NBA Finals. In a normal year, this would have been an incredible occurrence, but with little else to do and everyone glued to the NBA playoffs every night, the Heat performing as well as it did inside the NBA bubble was legendary.

The Heat would go on to lose to the Los Angeles Lakers 4-2 in the finals, but the mere fact that the team gave Miami this level of sports excitement during the most trying time of many people's lives will forever live as one of the greatest gifts the Heat has ever given its fans.
Jimmy Butler being completely exhausted. If there's one photo that sums up last year, it would be the image of Jimmy Butler leaning over a behind-the-basket barricade in the NBA Finals. The photo was taken toward the end of Game Five, a game Miami would go on to win, and which Butler finished with a massive triple-double.

Miami would go on to lose the series in Game Six, but Game Five will go down as one of the most memorable in franchise history.
KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Ryan Yousefi is a freelance writer for Miami New Times, a lover of sports, and an expert consumer of craft beer and pho. Hanley Ramirez once stole a baseball from him and to this day still owes him $10.
Contact: Ryan Yousefi