This is my definitive list of the most entertaining sporting events.
Entertainment isn’t just best level of competition during play, it encapsulates everything. The theatrics surrounding the event, the pomp and circumstance of the event, who is involved, among other factors. Essentially, if 2019 was my last year on Earth, this is the list of sporting events I could not live without seeing before I went on to the great beyond.
Honorable Mention ~ Saturday competitions at the NBA All-Star Weekend
When I was younger, and Blake Griffin was jumping over cars’, Nate Robinson and Dwight Howard were in a league of their own dunking, and Vince Carter was pulling off dunks that made your mouth drop and wonder, “How in the world is that humanly possible?”, this would have been no doubt a top-three on the most entertaining list. The dunk contest is now watered down with players like Lebron, Giannis, and Kevin Durant not participating, but the three point shootout is more entertaining than ever. There’s room for this one to one day sneak back into the top five.
Number Five ~ NBA Christmas Day games
The origin of this column. I love the NBA Christmas Day games. While all of America shuts down and enjoys time with their families, the NBA plays five games starting at noon that essentially mean nothing since it is one of 82. But the idea that ten teams and players sacrifice their Christmas for our entertainment makes it that much more enjoyable, and yet somewhat strange.
Here’s my top three NBA Christmas day moments:
3. Lebron’s triple double vs. the Lakers (2010)
2. Lakers snap Celtics 19 game win streak (2008)
1. Bernard King scores 60 for Knicks (1984 – Duh)
Number Four ~ The Final Four
With so much on the line, Cinderellas’ can face blue bloods’ with a chance at playing for a national championship on the line. Usually played in a football stadium to help throw off the shots of some of college basketball’s best shooters, the Final Four can feature some of the biggest college basketball shots in history i.e. Kentucky vs. Wisconsin in 2014, and some of the biggest downfalls in college basketball history i.e. Kentucky vs. Wisconsin in 2015.
You can usually count on some terrible band like The Script to sing the national anthem, too. Or maybe a concert while we wait for the second game to start that makes us all question why in the world they’re having a concert while we’re waiting for the second game to start.
Number Three ~ The Super Bowl
This one comes with a bit of solace because when you watch it, you partially watch with knowing that it’s the last football game with any meaning until August/September. With this year’s playoffs approaching, that’s not something I really want to think about.
So much goes into the Super Bowl. The two weeks of waiting after the conference championships, Super Bowl media day, the prognosticators predicting what they think might happen when in all honesty, nobody has any idea what might happen. The national anthem, the halftime show, the funny commercials, the sad commercials that make you think, the hanging out with friends.
Oh yeah, and all the while they’re playing the biggest football game all season long while two teams try to immortalize their names and actions in football history. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Number Two ~ The College Football Playoff Semifinals
This is exactly how I feel about watching the Super Bowl, except this is two Super Bowls put into one day.
This day and sporting event is perhaps the best thing to come out of college football switching to the playoff format from the old, nasty BCS format of years’ past. The pomp and circumstance of the teams’, the pageantry of the broadcast, the level of play from the top four teams vying for a bid in the national championship, it all makes for the perfect day of football. It also helps that you get to watch these two games with the idea of knowing that after that day, you still get one more game of college football that next Monday before waiting until August to see the product again.
Here’s my tip to anyone reading: instead of watching the dull, bland broadcast that shows the game with the same announcers you’ve listened to all year, watch the coach’s broadcast on one of ESPN’s other channels. Several college football coaches from big time programs break down each play, what each coach is thinking, and how they should play in a given situation. For non-coaches like myself, it helps give a different perspective to the game we all know and love.
Number One ~ The First Two Days of the NCAA Tournament
No one is going to convince me any different on this one, ever. Never, ever.
If you’re like myself and a lover of college basketball and the NCAA tournament, you could sit down and watch college basketball for 12 straight hours for two days and not have a care in the world about anything else.
UMBC beating Virginia, Lehigh beating Duke, Mercer beating Duke, all of that happened on the first two days of the NCAA tournament. Not to mention the game winners, the missed free throws, the ill-advised timeouts called, the Cinderella stories, the brackets busted, the fans in the stands crying, all of it is sports serenity that matches no other day in the calendar year.
Instead of giving me a last meal on death row, give me the ability to watch the first two days of the NCAA tournament and that will more than make up for that steak I could have otherwise eaten.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT