Top Sports Stories Of 2011

Jan. 1: A failed Wisconsin 2-point conversion secured the Rose Bowl for Texas Christian University 21-19. The Horned Frogs finished the season undefeated. (credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
TCU Wins Rose Bowl Jan. 1: A failed Wisconsin 2-point conversion secured the Rose Bowl for Texas Christian University 21-19. The Horned Frogs finished the season undefeated. (credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jan. 10: Cam Newton and Auburn top Oregon 22-19 in the BCS National Championship Game. (credit: Kevin C. Cox)
Auburn Wins National Championship Jan. 10: Cam Newton and Auburn top Oregon 22-19 in the BCS National Championship Game. (credit: Kevin C. Cox)
Feb. 6: Aaron Rodgers and the Packers stepped out of the Brett Favre-era with their win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV, 31-25. (credit: Timothy A. Clary)
Green Bay Wins Super Bowl XLV Feb. 6: Aaron Rodgers and the Packers stepped out of the Brett Favre-era with their win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV, 31-25. (credit: Timothy A. Clary)
(credit: Gail Oskin/Getty Images)
Lance Armstrong Retires (credit: Gail Oskin/Getty Images)
Feb. 21: A major three-team deal sent Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups to New York from Denver. The new Knicks dropped their playoff series to Boston. (credit: Elsa/Getty Images)
Carmelo Anthony Dealt To The Knicks Feb. 21: A major three-team deal sent Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups to New York from Denver. The new Knicks dropped their playoff series to Boston. (credit: Elsa/Getty Images)
Feb. 27: Duke Snider, beloved Dodger and the Duke of Flatbush, died of unknown causes in California. Snider was a Dodger in both Brooklyn and Los Angeles and was inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 1980. (credit: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Duke of Flatbush Dies Feb. 27: Duke Snider, beloved Dodger and the Duke of Flatbush, died of unknown causes in California. Snider was a Dodger in both Brooklyn and Los Angeles and was inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 1980. (credit: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
March 4: Wes Leonard, age 16, a student and star athlete at Fennville High School in Fennville, Michigan, collapsed on a basketball court moments after making the winning shot in overtime during the team's last game of the season to get his team into the Class C District Playoffs. He was pronounced dead shortly afterward at a Holland, Michigan hospital. The cause of death was cardiac arrest due to an enlarged heart. (credit: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
Mich. High School Player Dies After Game-Winning Shot March 4: Wes Leonard, age 16, a student and star athlete at Fennville High School in Fennville, Michigan, collapsed on a basketball court moments after making the winning shot in overtime during the team's last game of the season to get his team into the Class C District Playoffs. He was pronounced dead shortly afterward at a Holland, Michigan hospital. The cause of death was cardiac arrest due to an enlarged heart. (credit: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
March 12: An 18-week lockout shut down the NFL for much of the off-season but owners signed a new collective bargaining agreement in July before any regular season games were lost. (credit: Robb Carr/Getty Images)
NFL Lockout Begins March 12: An 18-week lockout shut down the NFL for much of the off-season but owners signed a new collective bargaining agreement in July before any regular season games were lost. (credit: Robb Carr/Getty Images)
April 4: Coach Jim Calhoun's legend grew when his Huskies started the year unranked and finished with a freshly cut net in hand. Kemba Walker scored 16 points in the 53-41 win over Butler. (credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
UConn Defeats Butler For National Championship April 4: Coach Jim Calhoun's legend grew when his Huskies started the year unranked and finished with a freshly cut net in hand. Kemba Walker scored 16 points in the 53-41 win over Butler. (credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
April 8: Manny Ramirez, known for his success with the Indians, Red Sox, and Dodgers, retired after testing positive for steroids for the second time while playing for the Rays. Ramirez has now been reinstated back into baseball. (credit: Elsa/Getty Images)
Manny Ramirez Retires After Testing Positive For 2nd Time April 8: Manny Ramirez, known for his success with the Indians, Red Sox, and Dodgers, retired after testing positive for steroids for the second time while playing for the Rays. Ramirez has now been reinstated back into baseball. (credit: Elsa/Getty Images)
April 13: Barry Bonds' steroids trial ends with little closure for fans after eight years of allegations. He was found guilty of obstruction of justice with several mistrials ruled along the way. (credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Barry Bonds Convicted Of 1 Count Of Obstruction Of Justice April 13: Barry Bonds' steroids trial ends with little closure for fans after eight years of allegations. He was found guilty of obstruction of justice with several mistrials ruled along the way. (credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
May 8: The "Zen Master" said early in 2011, "This year, there's no maybe," referring to his decision to retire after the season. Following the Mavericks' sweep of Los Angeles, Jackson stuck to his word and stepped out. He's the only coach in the country's major professional sports to have won at least 10 championships and has the highest winning percentage of any coach in the NBA Hall of Fame. (credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Phil Jackson Retires May 8: The "Zen Master" said early in 2011, "This year, there's no maybe," referring to his decision to retire after the season. Following the Mavericks' sweep of Los Angeles, Jackson stuck to his word and stepped out. He's the only coach in the country's major professional sports to have won at least 10 championships and has the highest winning percentage of any coach in the NBA Hall of Fame. (credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
May 13: The NHL enforcer was discovered dead in his apartment in Minnesota at the age of 28. He played five seasons for the Wild and 22 games for the New York Rangers. His death was ruled an accident caused by a mix of alcohol and oxycodone. (credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Derek Boogaard Found Dead May 13: The NHL enforcer was discovered dead in his apartment in Minnesota at the age of 28. He played five seasons for the Wild and 22 games for the New York Rangers. His death was ruled an accident caused by a mix of alcohol and oxycodone. (credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
May 17: Minnesota Twins legend and baseball Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew died after a battle with esophageal cancer. "Hammerin' Harmon" finished his career with 573 home runs. (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Harmon Killebrew Dies May 17: Minnesota Twins legend and baseball Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew died after a battle with esophageal cancer. "Hammerin' Harmon" finished his career with 573 home runs. (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
May 30: Jim Tressel's 10 years as head coach of Ohio State ended when he stepped down amid allegations he wasn't cooperating with an NCAA investigation into whether he allowed players to play while ineligible. After an initial suspension, Tressel resigned after meeting with Ohio State president Gordon Gee and athletic director Gene Smith. He's third on the list for most games won by an Ohio State coach. (Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Ohio State Head Football Coach Jim Tressel Resigns May 30: Jim Tressel's 10 years as head coach of Ohio State ended when he stepped down amid allegations he wasn't cooperating with an NCAA investigation into whether he allowed players to play while ineligible. After an initial suspension, Tressel resigned after meeting with Ohio State president Gordon Gee and athletic director Gene Smith. He's third on the list for most games won by an Ohio State coach. (Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
June 12: Despite LeBron James making his "Decision" and going to the Miami Heat to join Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, he once again fell short of winning the title. The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Heat 105-95 in Game 6 to capture the championship. (credit: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)
Heat Collapse, Mavs Win NBA Title June 12: Despite LeBron James making his "Decision" and going to the Miami Heat to join Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, he once again fell short of winning the title. The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Heat 105-95 in Game 6 to capture the championship. (credit: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)
June 15: The Bruins joined the Patriots, Red Sox and Celtics in spoiling New England fans with championships after beating the Vancouver Canucks 3-0 in Game 7. The city of Vancouver rioted after the loss. (credit: Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
Boston Bruins Win Stanley Cup June 15: The Bruins joined the Patriots, Red Sox and Celtics in spoiling New England fans with championships after beating the Vancouver Canucks 3-0 in Game 7. The city of Vancouver rioted after the loss. (credit: Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
June 27: The Dodgers filed for bankruptcy after the league rejected Frank McCourt's television deal. Commissioner Bud Selig blames the team's financial woes on McCourt's debt and claimed he diverted club assets to address personal needs through his bitter divorce. (credit: Matt Kemp/Getty Images)
Dodgers File For Bankruptcy June 27: The Dodgers filed for bankruptcy after the league rejected Frank McCourt's television deal. Commissioner Bud Selig blames the team's financial woes on McCourt's debt and claimed he diverted club assets to address personal needs through his bitter divorce. (credit: Matt Kemp/Getty Images)
July 9: Derek Jeter became the first player in Yankees history to reach the 3,000 hit mark when he blasted a pitch from the Rays' David Price for a home run. (credit: Michael Heiman/Getty Images)
Derek Jeter Reaches 3,000 Hit Mark July 9: Derek Jeter became the first player in Yankees history to reach the 3,000 hit mark when he blasted a pitch from the Rays' David Price for a home run. (credit: Michael Heiman/Getty Images)
July 17: The U.S. women's soccer team lost a heartbreaker to Japan in the Women's World Cup Final as the U.S. couldn't hold onto a late lead. Penalty kicks ultimately decided the game. The Americans missed three of four while Japan made three of four. (credit: Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. Women's Soccer Loses In World Cup Final July 17: The U.S. women's soccer team lost a heartbreaker to Japan in the Women's World Cup Final as the U.S. couldn't hold onto a late lead. Penalty kicks ultimately decided the game. The Americans missed three of four while Japan made three of four. (credit: Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images)
July 21: Football fans exhaled after NFL team owners announced a collective bargaining agreement was reached with the league's players association to end the 130-day lockout. Owners were bargaining for a better share of the league's revenues, as rewards for major investments like new stadiums. Influential players suggested select owners were using the play to renegotiate for a better benefit than they received following a 2006 collective bargaining agreement. (credit: Antonio Brown/Getty Images)
NFL Lockout Ends, Players Report To Camp July 21: Football fans exhaled after NFL team owners announced a collective bargaining agreement was reached with the league's players association to end the 130-day lockout. Owners were bargaining for a better share of the league's revenues, as rewards for major investments like new stadiums. Influential players suggested select owners were using the play to renegotiate for a better benefit than they received following a 2006 collective bargaining agreement. (credit: Antonio Brown/Getty Images)
Aug. 15: The NHL community grieved twice more when the Vancouver Canucks' Rick Rypien, 27, and the Nashville Predators' Wade Belak, 35, were found dead in separate incidents 16 days apart. Both deaths have been ruled suicides. (credit: Christian Peterson (top) Rich Lam (bottom/Getty Images)
Hockey Players Wade Belak, Rick Rypien Found Dead Aug. 15: The NHL community grieved twice more when the Vancouver Canucks' Rick Rypien, 27, and the Nashville Predators' Wade Belak, 35, were found dead in separate incidents 16 days apart. Both deaths have been ruled suicides. (credit: Christian Peterson (top) Rich Lam (bottom/Getty Images)
Aug. 16: A Miami football booster and convicted felon blew the whistle on the Hurricanes, claiming he financed "thousands" of banned benefits to 72 Miami players over eight years. (credit: Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
University of Miami Football Scandal Aug. 16: A Miami football booster and convicted felon blew the whistle on the Hurricanes, claiming he financed "thousands" of banned benefits to 72 Miami players over eight years. (credit: Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Aug. 24: The Orioles organization was shocked when former pitcher and executive committed suicide. Flanagan pitched 18 seasons for the Orioles, winning the Cy Young Award in 1979 and a World Series with the team in 1983. Police reports said he was concerned with his finances. (credit: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Former Oriole Mike Flanagan Commits Suicide Aug. 24: The Orioles organization was shocked when former pitcher and executive committed suicide. Flanagan pitched 18 seasons for the Orioles, winning the Cy Young Award in 1979 and a World Series with the team in 1983. Police reports said he was concerned with his finances. (credit: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Sept. 7: Indianapolis fans sat miserable through this NFL season after Colts' quarterback Peyton Manning said he couldn't play after a setback following neck surgery in May. The Colts organization had placed the franchise tag on the four-time MVP in February and re-signed him to a $90 million contract. (credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Peyton Manning Finished For The Season Sept. 7: Indianapolis fans sat miserable through this NFL season after Colts' quarterback Peyton Manning said he couldn't play after a setback following neck surgery in May. The Colts organization had placed the franchise tag on the four-time MVP in February and re-signed him to a $90 million contract. (credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Sept. 19: Mariano Rivera cemented his legacy after notching his record-breaking 602nd save. Rivera’s dominance in the late innings over 15 years with the Yankees made his name synonymous with “closer,” a position characteristically featuring high turnover and unpredictability. (Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Mariano Rivera Breaks All-Time Saves Record Sept. 19: Mariano Rivera cemented his legacy after notching his record-breaking 602nd save. Rivera’s dominance in the late innings over 15 years with the Yankees made his name synonymous with “closer,” a position characteristically featuring high turnover and unpredictability. (Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Sept. 28: Sox and Braves fans could use neck surgery after shaking their heads in disbelief following epic late-season breakdowns. Before September's finish, both teams saw their playoff hopes slowly fade and lost their chance to make the postseason on the final day of the season. Before this fall, no team missed the playoffs with eight-game leads entering September. (credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Red Sox, Braves Suffer Epic Meltdown Sept. 28: Sox and Braves fans could use neck surgery after shaking their heads in disbelief following epic late-season breakdowns. Before September's finish, both teams saw their playoff hopes slowly fade and lost their chance to make the postseason on the final day of the season. Before this fall, no team missed the playoffs with eight-game leads entering September. (credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Oct. 8: Al Davis, owner of the Oakland Raiders, died from heart disease at the age of 82. Davis led the Raiders to their first winning season as a franchise and went on to own the team for more than four decades. The Raiders won three Super Bowls and won the AFC championship four times with Davis at the helm. He also won an AFL championship. (credit: Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Al Davis Dies Oct. 8: Al Davis, owner of the Oakland Raiders, died from heart disease at the age of 82. Davis led the Raiders to their first winning season as a franchise and went on to own the team for more than four decades. The Raiders won three Super Bowls and won the AFC championship four times with Davis at the helm. He also won an AFL championship. (credit: Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Oct. 16: Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon, 33, died tragically from injuries suffered in a 15-car wreck in the 2011 IZOD IndyCar World Championship at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He just signed a multi-year deal that morning to replace racing star Danica Patrick on Andretti Motorsports. (credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Dan Wheldon Dies In Las Vegas Racecar Wreck Oct. 16: Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon, 33, died tragically from injuries suffered in a 15-car wreck in the 2011 IZOD IndyCar World Championship at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He just signed a multi-year deal that morning to replace racing star Danica Patrick on Andretti Motorsports. (credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Oct. 28: After coming down to their last strike twice in Game 6, the St. Louis Cardinals improbably won the World Series in seven games against the Texas Rangers. The celebration would last only a few weeks, though, before Albert Pujols bolted to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. (credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
St. Louis Cardinals Beat Rangers In World Series Oct. 28: After coming down to their last strike twice in Game 6, the St. Louis Cardinals improbably won the World Series in seven games against the Texas Rangers. The celebration would last only a few weeks, though, before Albert Pujols bolted to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. (credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Nov. 7: Weeks after Smokin' Joe Frazier was diagnosed with liver cancer, it had metastasized and killed the boxing legend. Frazier was an undisputed world heavyweight champion and was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame after an 11-year career. Frazier may be best known for beating Muhammad Ali on points in "The Fight of the Century" and losing the rematch called "The Thrilla in Manilla." (credit: AFP/ Getty Images)
Joe Frazier Dies Nov. 7: Weeks after Smokin' Joe Frazier was diagnosed with liver cancer, it had metastasized and killed the boxing legend. Frazier was an undisputed world heavyweight champion and was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame after an 11-year career. Frazier may be best known for beating Muhammad Ali on points in "The Fight of the Century" and losing the rematch called "The Thrilla in Manilla." (credit: AFP/ Getty Images)
Nov. 9: Happy Valley was rocked after charges alleged former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky had inappropriate sexual contact with at least eight boys between 1994 and 2009. He was indicted on 40 counts of child molestation, and the details of the investigation resulted in the firing of Penn State coaching legend Joe Paterno and resignation of university president Graham Spanier. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Penn State Child Sex Abuse Scandal Nov. 9: Happy Valley was rocked after charges alleged former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky had inappropriate sexual contact with at least eight boys between 1994 and 2009. He was indicted on 40 counts of child molestation, and the details of the investigation resulted in the firing of Penn State coaching legend Joe Paterno and resignation of university president Graham Spanier. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Nov. 17: Oklahoma State Women's basketball its leaders including head coach Kurt Budke and assistant coach Miranda Serna when their small plane crashed in Arkansas leaving no survivors. Budke is survived by his wife and three children. (credit: Brett Deering/Getty Images)
Oklahoma State's Women's Basketball Coach Kurt Budke Dies Nov. 17: Oklahoma State Women's basketball its leaders including head coach Kurt Budke and assistant coach Miranda Serna when their small plane crashed in Arkansas leaving no survivors. Budke is survived by his wife and three children. (credit: Brett Deering/Getty Images)
Shortly following news of Penn State's sex abuse scandal, Syracuse University was faced with its own when two men appeared on ESPN's "Behind the Lines" and said associate head basketball coach Bernie Fine molested them when they worked as ballboys between the late 1970s and the 1990s. Fine initially denied the allegations before ESPN released a tape on which Fine's wife, Laurie, admitted knowledge of his behavior. The university fired Fine after the tape was released. (credit: Jim MacIssac/Getty Images)
The Bernie Fine Scandal Shortly following news of Penn State's sex abuse scandal, Syracuse University was faced with its own when two men appeared on ESPN's "Behind the Lines" and said associate head basketball coach Bernie Fine molested them when they worked as ballboys between the late 1970s and the 1990s. Fine initially denied the allegations before ESPN released a tape on which Fine's wife, Laurie, admitted knowledge of his behavior. The university fired Fine after the tape was released. (credit: Jim MacIssac/Getty Images)
Nov. 26: The fourth lockout in the NBA's history ended after a contentious 149 days. The regular season will begin Christmas Day. (credit: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
NBA Lockout Over Nov. 26: The fourth lockout in the NBA's history ended after a contentious 149 days. The regular season will begin Christmas Day. (credit: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
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