Roberto González Echevarría, author, The Pride of Havana: A History of Cuban Baseball
Two come to mind: the U.S. ice-hockey victory over the Soviet team in 1980 (the “Miracle on Ice”), and Muhammad Ali’s knockout of George Foreman at the “Rumble in the Jungle,” in 1974. The American hockey team was amateur, the Russian one much less so, and Ali, with his opposition to the Vietnam War and brazen declaration that black is beautiful, represented a new spirit in the culture emerging in the ’60s.
Tommy Tomlinson, sports journalist and author, The Elephant in the Room
The 1926 Rose Bowl: Alabama 20, Washington 19. There was a time when the South wasn’t good at college football. This upset win gave the region a post–Civil War identity. Southern schools grew to have the best teams, the biggest stadiums, the deepest rivalries. Credit (or blame, if you prefer) that one game 93 years ago.
J. A. Adande, director of sports journalism, Northwestern University, and panelist, ESPN’s Around the Horn
There was a moment at the end of Texas Western’s victory over Kentucky in the 1966 NCAA men’s-basketball championship game when it wasn’t just a sporting event; it was a chapter in the civil-rights movement. For the first time, a basketball team with an all-black starting lineup won the title over an all-white team. In a picture captured by the photographer Rich Clarkson, the faces of the Kentucky players and coaches show a recognition of an irreversible change.