Welcome back to the 25 for 25 Series! G-Man is turning 25 on July 23rd and to celebrate, I am counting down each of the sporting years I have been alive for. Full rules on the 25 for 25 Main Page.
Stanley Cup Champion: Colorado Avalanche (52-15-10-4) — One of the best constructed teams on this list, the Avs acquired 22-year veteran defenseman Ray Bourque the previous season from the Boston Bruins to put him in a position to finally win a Cup. Despite all of the upsets that had come in the playoffs, the Final still saw the top-seeded teams out of each conference take the ice: the Devils and the Avalanche. The Avs edged the Devils in seven games finally getting Bourque a Cup. 2001 was also notable for the return of Mario Lemieux after his retirement due to cancer over three years prior.
NBA Champion: Los Angeles Lakers (56-26, #2 Western Conference) — Kobe and Shaq won their second-second title in five games over the Sixers posting a 15-1 record in the playoffs, the highest win percentage in NBA History. Allen Iverson led the league in scoring en route to winning the MVP Award.
World Series Champion: Arizona Diamondbacks (92-70, #2 National League) — The Diamondbacks became the youngest franchise to ever win the World Series at just four seasons old with Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling sharing co-MVP of the World Series. The Seattle Mariners were thought to be the favorites having tied the regular season wins mark with 116 but Seattle lost in the ALCS to the New York Yankees. 2001 was also the season in which Barry Bonds broke Mark Maguire’s home run record by hitting 73 homers.
Super Bowl Champion: New England Patriots (11-5, #2 AFC) — The Patroits dynasty began with one of the better-fought Super Bowl victories as Tom Brady and company had to defeat Kurt Warner and the St. Louis Ram, better known by their nickname: “The Greatest Show on Turf.” Warner led the Rams back from a 17-3 deficit but Brady marched the Patroits down the field with no timeouts to set up an Adam Vinatieri game-winning filed goal. Many will debate that this game should never have happened thanks to the infamous “Tuck Rule” in the Pats’ win over the Raiders in the Divisional Round.
NCAA Football National Champion: Miami Hurricanes
NCAA Men’s Basketball National Champion: Duke Blue Devils
Masters Champion: Tiger Woods (6th Major) — Completing the Tiger Slam
US Open Champion: Retief Goosen (1st Major)
British Open Champion: David Duval (1st Major)
PGA Champion: David Toms (1st Major)
2001 was filled with incredible moments. From Gary Thorne’s call of the Avalanche winning the cup: “RAYMOND BOURQUE, A DREAM HAS COME TRUE!!!” to Jeter’s flip, to Vinatieri’s kick, this year certainly didn’t hold back. The best for me though is the Tiger Slam. Maybe it’s because of Tiger’s 180 to non-dominance but his run to his 14 majors was so unprecedented, you thought at times that he may never lose. Completing the Tiger Slam wasn’t even the pinnacle of his run as he had eight more to win at this point, well maybe it was one of many peaks in his mountain range of greatness.