• The year 2020 has drastically changed the landscape of sports
  • Exhibition matches took boxing's centerstage 
  • One of the greatest players in basketball history died this year

2020 proved that in sports, neither is stable nor impossible. Below are five of the most shocking moments that happened in the sporting world this year.

5. NFL stars joined Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson in a rematch

It is always a shocking moment when two of the best players in a sport collaborate for a good cause. What more if the pair will be joined by two of the best players from another sport?

This is what happened in May when Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson decided to have a charity rematch of their 2018’s epic duel known as “The Match.”

(L-R) Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson and NFL quarterback legends Peyton Manning and Tom Brady squared off in a made-for-television charity golf event that raised $20 million for coronavirus relief efforts
(L-R) Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson and NFL quarterback legends Peyton Manning and Tom Brady squared off in a made-for-television charity golf event that raised $20 million for coronavirus relief efforts GETTY IMAGES / EZRA SHAW

To add flair into their second showdown, Woods and Mickelson had NFL all-time greats Tom Brady and Peyton Manning swinging the club with them on the course.

Regardless of which pair won the match, the scenery itself was already a historic moment. But Woods and Brady’s team beat Mickelson and Manning to raise $20 million for charity.

Another shocking moment worth remembering during the exhibition was Brady’s embarrassing wardrobe malfunction.

4. Announcement of Floyd Mayweather vs. Logan Paul

Though it’s no longer a surprise whenever Floyd Mayweather Jr. announces his return, the undefeated boxer made quite a buzz earlier this month when he confirmed an exhibition match against YouTube star Logan Paul.

Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. at the end of his press conference at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama on Jan. 1, 2019. Getty Images/Toshifumi Kitamura

“Money” is now set to take on Paul after being engaged in a war of words on social media. While Mayweather is evidently the favorite to win the bout, the expected amount of money it would generate could possibly shock the entire sporting world due to the massive fanbase of the two.

3. Lionel Messi almost left FC Barcelona

Lionel Messi is arguably the greatest player to ever grace the football pitch. The Argentine has represented FC Barcelona for more than two decades, but in August, the world was shocked when the club announced that its team captain has sent them a “document expressing his desire to leave.”

Though Messi decided to continue playing for his beloved club, nobody can guarantee that the six-time Ballon d’Or winner will opt to stay when his contract expires in 2021.

Lionel Messi almost scored a breathtaking goal but Barcelona were held to a frustrating draw by Slavia Prague
Lionel Messi AFP / LLUIS GENE

2. Mike Tyson returned to boxing

Exhibition boxing match has been quite a trend in 2020. Before Mayweather vs. Paul followed suit, it was the epic Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr. that started it all.

Roughly 15 years after his last professional fight, “Iron Mike” decided to make a comeback at age 54. He took on his fellow boxing in a dour eight-round encounter that ended in a draw.

Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr.
Roy Jones Jr. reacts after receiving a split draw against Mike Tyson during Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones Jr. presented by Triller at Staples Center. Getty Images | Joe Scarnici

After the fight, Tyson vows to continue fighting for a good cause.

“This (exhibitions) is bigger than championships. We’re humanitarians, we’re helping people. That’s bigger. And I’m into that now,” he said.

1. Kobe Bryant’s death

Before the pandemic changed the landscape of sports, it was the untimely death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant that sent the entire globe into a virtual standstill.

On January 26, Bryant was confirmed dead along with her daughter Gianna and six other passengers, including the pilot in a horrifying helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.

A Kobe Bryant jersey at a makeshift memorial
A Kobe Bryant jersey at a makeshift memorial AFP / FREDERIC J. BROWN

People from all walks of life mourned Bryant’s passing and some of his fellow NBA greats were left devastated by the fact they lost a “brother.”

"I haven't felt a pain that sharp in a while," Shaquille O’Neal said on TNT's "Remembering Kobe" tribute. "I lost a little brother. I wish I could say something to him again."

“I'm heartbroken and devastated my brother! Man, I love you big bro,” LeBron James wrote on Instagram. “I promise you I'll continue your legacy man until we meet again my brother!"

Kobe Bryant and LeBron James
Kobe Bryant has five NBA championships in comparison to LeBron James' three. Pictured: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers match up during the first half at Staples Center on March 10, 2016, in Los Angeles, California. Harry How/Getty Images