The Rush: Remembering the most unique year in sports history

From the death of Kobe and Gianna Bryant to developing sports bubbles amidst a global pandemic, sports played a key role in society, with athletes leading social justice protests and making voting more accessible during the 2020 General Election. While there was much agony off the field of play in 2020, there was plenty of ecstasy on it, providing joy to athletes and fans around the world.

Video Transcript


JARED QUAY: Happy New Year's, everybody. Can you believe we actually made it to 2021?

CLEVELAND BROWN: I thought this day would never come.

JARED QUAY: 2020 felt like the year that would never end. But here we are. As we close the book on 2020, let's take one more look at the most memorable year in sports history.

- 3, 2, 1!


- Breaking news--

- Kobe Bryant, the legendary NBA star, is dead tonight, his adorable 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, also dead tonight, and seven other people, all dead.

VANESSA BRYANT: They were funny, happy, silly, and they loved life. They were so easy to love.

- Fast-breaking developments in the coronavirus emergency in the US and around the world, more than 80 million Americans now told to stay at home.

- Due to unforeseen circumstances, the game tonight has been postponed.

- Every single arena and stadium in North America is empty. Sports all over the globe came to a grinding halt.

- We agreed to postpone the Olympic games at Tokyo 2020.

- I've had to be a part of a bigger team in this COVID-19 fight.

- Today's my seventh shift at the long-term care facility.

- Instead of dribbling the ball, she juggles patients.

- It's been almost four months since the league suspended its season. Today, teams started arriving in Orlando to resume playing.

- Nearly 800 players stepping inside their fancy bubbles, all part of the new normal.

- But we're about to start baseball. How fired up are you?

- Sports have a way of lifting us up, of bringing us together.

GEORGE FLOYD: I'mma die, man.

- See, you need--

GEORGE FLOYD: I can't breathe, man.

- OK.


- The killing of George Floyd has led to reckonings not only here in the United States, but in many countries around the world.

- We are dedicating this season to Breonna Taylor.

- 29-year-old Jacob Blake, another black man gunned down by police.

- Black Lives Matter!

- (ALL) Black lives matter!

- We're not just basketball players. And if you think we are, then don't watch us. You're watching the wrong sport, because we're so much more than that. We're going to say what we need to say. And people need to hear that.

- Despite the overwhelming plea for change, there has been no action. So our focus today cannot be on basketball.

- We are calling for justice for Jacob Blake and demand the officers be held accountable.

- Within a week of Hill's tweet, the flag was changed.

- How does it feel?

- Oh, god, I feel like I can live life now.

- More than two dozen arenas and stadiums across the country have opened up to voters.

LEBRON JAMES: Make sure y'all get your ballots, fill them out.

- --prove today that activism matters, and never doesn't always mean never.

I keep playing to show others that they can play too.

- And here comes Sarah Fuller, more history on display.

- The Miami Marlins shattering baseball's gender barrier by hiring Kim Ng as their general manager.

- I keep playing for the next generation so that they will have better opportunity than ours.

- We the National Football League admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier.

- Here's Davis for 3 and the win. Oh, it's good, Anthony Davis!

- Lucas Giolito, no-hits the Pirates.

- I don't think there's been a more anticipated uniform change in the history of the league.

- Marshawn out here for the people, man. He gave us some Beast Mode magic.

- Jansen, that is into center field. But the ball gets away! Tampa Bay wins it! Brett Phillips, Game 4 hero.

- Alex Smith-- [WHISTLE]-- back out here to play quarterback in the National Football League.

- Kevin Durant's first bucket in a Brooklyn uniform.

- I'll have to look at another crying meme for the next--


- Oh-ho-ho-ho! Oh, go in! Yeah!

- Split my pants. Well, there was so much torque in that swing.


- --right after-- oh, the club twirl.


- [LAUGHS] Oh, boy.

ROGER GOODELL: Let's hear from you right now.


Oh, come on, guys. You can do better than that.

- Mookie jumps and he does it again!

- Win the Heisman, perfect season, National championship.


- Chiefs are Super Bowl champions here in Miami.

- Liverpool champions again!

- Hamilton has more wins than any other driver in Formula 1 history!

- Naomi Osaka wins her second US Open Championship.

- 13th title, grand slam win number 20.

- Tampa Bay Lightning have won the Stanley Cup!

- Masters champion Dustin Johnson--

DUSTIN JOHNSON: I've never had this much trouble gathering myself.


DUSTIN JOHNSON: It's hard to talk.


- Strike 3, Dodgers have won it all in 2020!

- In the year we will never forget, the Seattle Storm are the team we will always remember!

- This historic 2020 NBA championship belongs to the Los Angeles Lakers.

- You know, we've been through our ups and been through our downs. And I think the most important part is that we all stayed together throughout.