The Most Iconic Sports Moments From Your Youth


Houston Astros

When the Houston Astros started out in the game of Baseball, they arrived with a splash of color you could never forget. Right in the middle of the heady seventies, full of psychedelia and crazy disco music, the Astros came out on the scene in their orange, yellow and girl, with a bright blue star to finish it off. Nowadays teams try to stop their uniforms drawing attention from the game, but it’s a lot less fun to look at!

Houston Astros

Mamie Bouffant

You don’t need to be a detective to work out that this is from the swinging sixties, beehive and all! If you compare this photo to a current day track team, there will be more differences than you can count. But in thr 60’s, this was the Flamin Mamie’s Bouffant Belles, the UT women’s track team, getting ready to show off their skills on the race track. What a cool decade to be alive, with so much changing all around.

Mamie Bouffant

Oscar Gamble

We’ve moved along a bit here, as you can see by the Afro! This hairstyle was iconic for the time, and shows how the African American culture was becoming more popular. This photo shows Oscar Gamble in his prime as a Baseball player, as he was in the game from 1969 to 1985. Throughout that time he played for an incredible seven different teams, from the White Sox to the New York Yankees and beyond.

Oscar Gamble

Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer

There are friends that you have a non competitive relationship with, cheering each other on from the side-lines, and then there are those you would more accurately describe as rivalries. Especially when you play the same sport, this is more common than you might think. One great example here snapped in 1966, where Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer are engaged in a competitive game of golf, but despite that, are firm friends.

Arnold Palmer

Floyd Mayweather Jr

You might be surprised to see Mr Money riding the subway like the rest of the world, but actually, he was known for it! Despite being a pro ball player, and having as many cars as he needed, he preferred the quiet of the train to the hustle of the roads. “Walt Frazier, of the New York Knicks, owns a $20,000 Rolls-Royce but still takes the subway to work in New York,” he told the press. Unlike in his job, where he “thrives on heavy traffic on a basketball floor, [he] can’t abide it on the New York streets.”

Walt Frazier

Andre Agassi

In this photo the legendary Andre Agassi is only 18 years old, back in 1988, and here he is looking fly on the tennis court. While a mullet might not seem like the height of style nowadays, it was pretty cool back then, you’re going to have to trust us on that! This was right before he hit his fame, and then between 1990 and 2000, he was widely considered to be the best tennis player in the world, and to many, he still holds that title.

Andre Agassi

Johnny Unitas

Photos from the sixties are going to be full of crazy antics that bring back waves of nostalgia for anyone who’s looking, and this pic from 1965 is no different. This shows Johnny Unitas with the one and only Herman Munster, having a laugh and bringing together the world of sports and television. This photo really captures the moment beautifully, and will be a treat for anyone who enjoyed The Munsters back in the day.

Johnny Unitas

Larry Bird

Fans of the St Louis Cardinals don’t need introducing to Fredbird! This was the Cards mascot during the seventies, and here that feathered friend is along with another type of Bird… Larry Bird! Back in 1979, Larry was just starting out in the world of sports, and he was given the honor of throwing the first pitch, to which Fredbird got involved as you can see! The humorous and lighter side of sports has been snapped perfectly here.

Fred Bird

Eastman Award

Here’s Larry Bird again, but this time being taken a little more seriously! He is being honored as an Indiana State All-American basketball player, and is standing with the Eastman Award. For those who aren’t in the know, it’s given by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, and awarded to the player that impresses the most in college ball. This is the beginning of an incredible career, and Larry looks like he knows he’s going places.

Larry Bird

Len Dawson

An incredible photo here, from the first Super Bowl event. It shows Len Dawson, best known as the quarterback for the Chiefs, enjoying a break with a cigarette and a bottle of alcohol before the game restarts from half time. Nowadays, this photo would be splashed all over the front pages of newspapers and magazines to decry his less than role model status behaviour, but back in the day, this was par for the course. (sorry, wrong sport.)

Len Dawson

Clyde Frazier – Madison Square Gardens

In the seventies, to be a sports player was also to be a model of sorts, just like it is today when you think about players like Michael Jordan in basketball, to David Beckham in Soccer. Clyde Frazier might have been one of the first to start this trend, as you can see from this stylish photo taken after a Celtics game. The game took place at the ‘Garden, and the photo is quite the opposite to the candid pics we usually see.

Clyde Madison Sq Garden

Roberto Clemente

Any Pittsburgh Pirates fans will immediately recognise Roberto Clemente, who was a huge Baseball legend. Here you can see him in his personal life, with his wife Vera Cristina Zabala, in 1964 when they were newlyweds. It shows how sports stars lived quite a usual life travelling from place to place, hardly the rock star lifestyle of private jets and yachts! Nowadays sports stars get a lot more luxury and live the fine life!

Roberto Clemente

Short shorts

Fashion is a great way of being able to tell what decade you’re looking at, and these short shorts show that we’re moving towards more sexual freedom and away from the conservative mindset which started the last century. It can only be the 70’s! This couple are off to play a game of badminton, and only 20 years beforehand their dress would have been seen as scandalous, but now were totally the norm.

Short shorts sports photos

Tennis Gear

Tennis is hardly a game which is easy to play in long skirts, so you can see why tennis gear has got shorter and shorter throughout the ages. If you take a look at the top female tennis players of today like the Williams sisters and Anna Kournikova (famously in a relationship with Enrique Iglesias) you’ll see that their skirts are totally out of their way, unlike these 50’s ones. They probably wouldn’t even be able to return a serve in these!

fifties tennis

Washington Redskins

You can actually see looking at this uniform that you’re looking at a photo of the Washington Redkins. The colors are still familiar, with the deep burgundy and the gold. The main difference is the helmet logo, which is now the Native American head image, which many feel is too controversial, and wish they would return to the letter R, rather than use images like the arrow with the feather, or any other nod to their name.

washington redskins

Johnny Boyd

If names like Penelope Pittstop or Dick Dastardly and Muttley mean anything to you, then you probably remember the Wacky Races. It was a cartoon which was known for famous taglines like “drat drat and double drat!” You might see the resemblance here between Johnny Boyd and Peter Perfect from Wacky Races. Here is Johnny sitting with Bob Sweikert, both friends and rivals in the racing game.

Johnny Boyd

Dwight Gooden

Mike Tyson is probably the most well known boxer in the history of the sport, and he was known as the undisputed heavyweight champion in his time. Here you can see him taking on Dwight Gooden in a friendly banter, a name that maybe less people have heard of. It really shows the fun side of boxing, and you can see Darryl Strawberry there too. All of these are huge names in the sport, and this photo is one to treasure now they are out of the game.

Dwight Gooden

Richard Petty

Some celebrities like to have iconic props which they carry around with them, or are always seen sporting, such as Sherlock Holmes’s famous hat and pipe, or in real life, John Lennon and his glasses, or Nelly and his band aid. In the world of NASCAR, the best example is Richard Petty and his famous cowboy hat with it’s rooster features. He’s matching it with his sunglasses, and a cigar, just to complete the look.

Richard Petty

John McEnroe

If you think that this is where Will Ferrell was inspired for his part as Jackie Moon in Semi-Pro, you’re probably right! This is actually the legend who is John McEnroe, back in 1978, when he was just 18 years old. The big hair, the sweatband, this was just the usual style back in the day, and Will Ferrell clearly did his research to get his part exactly right. It doesn’t look cool to us, but it did make a brief resurgence in the 2000’s, so someone must like it!

John McEnroe

Donald Trump and Mike Tyson

Two famous faces here, but perhaps not two that you would usually see together! Mike Tyson is one of the most famous boxers in the world, and standing right there next to him is none other than our President, Donald Trump! The connection is the location, Trump Plaza, where Tyson often had his fights, including the well known battle against Michael Spinks. This photo was taken that year, in 1988 and shows Tyson with his then wife, Robin Givens.

Tyson and Trump

Kobe Bryant

If you ever enjoyed the TV channel Nickelodeon, then you shouldn’t need introducing to Kenan and Kel, who were comedy sensations back in the day, including in their movie All That. Kobe Bryant is shown here with the funny pair, taking a break from his gruelling work schedule as a basketball hero. He was known for keeping his mind on the court, and not taking much time out while he was playing, so this photo is a rarity!

Kobe Bryant

Andre the Giant

This photo came from the incredible resource which is Reddit, full of stories about our fave celebrities. So the story goes, Andre the Giant likes to pay, and wouldn’t let Arnie pay for their meal, physically lifting the strongman back to his seat. Schwarzenegger confirmed the story, including his own anecdote. “I can confirm this story is basically true. It is missing Wilt Chamberlain’s involvement, which was never paying and then acting like he had planned to pay this time, and helping Andre carry me all the way outside to drop me on a car.”

Andre the Giant

Wilt Chamberlain

While we’re talking about Wilt, let’s discuss a story about his time with the Lakers. Although boxing wasn’t his game, he was offered an obscene amount of money to play against Muhammed Ali, more than he would make in his entire ball career. Believe it or not, it was called off because Chamberlain was seen to have the advantage, being so much taller than his opponent. That heavyweight title was always just out of sight for Chamberlain.

Wilt Chamberlain

Shaquille O’Neal

Most people standing next to Arnold Schwarzenegger would make a pretty short comparison, but then most people aren’t Shaquille O’Neal! This was one of the few times where Arnie himself probably felt pretty short, having to look up to someone, in this case, the basketball hero. This makes a hilarious photo, and one that I would frame, whether I was Shaq or Arnie! The guy in the background looks like a child in comparison!

Shaquille o Neal

Y.A Tittle

Not many sports players can boast seventeen seasons of play, and three Eastern Division titles in a row, but that’s what Y.A Tittle can say about his time with the New York Giants. This is a great photo and a rare one, as it shows him during his last ever game as a pro player. Unfortunately, it was a loss, at 52-20, and the end to a disappointing season, too. We all want to go out on a high, so you can imagine how he felt leaving like this.

YA Tittle

Champ Joe Namath

Joe Namath is a name which got fame in a number of areas, but most famously as a baseball player, known to have one of the strongest arms in the game. He was also an actor, a broadcaster, and many other things. One weakness he had however was his knees, so this photo of him taking a leap to make a pass during a game with the Houston Oilers is even more rare than you might think. This shows that he could do it all.

Joe Namath

Bobby Orr

What an incredible photo, considering it was taken without any of the fancy shutter skills which we have on our cameras and cell phones today. This shows Bobby Orr completely horizontal as he is shown hitting a winning shot in the Hockey Championship. He even got the MVP honors for this achievement, by winning the Bruin’s their first cup in almost 30 years. Now that’s something to celebrate, and you can see the happiness all over his face.

Bobby Orr

Babe Ruth

Babe Ruth is such a huge name in baseball, that even if you’ve never watched a game, you could probably name the hero of the sport. Here he is in the middle of all his fans, standing in a crowd just like a regular guy. Could you imagine a huge hero of the sporting world doing that nowadays? This photo was taken in 1926, right at the height of his success, and he’s clearly thriving off the crowds energy, which he adores.

Babe Ruth

Carl Lewis

Look closely, and you’ll realize that you’re seeing a small piece of history here, as Carl Lewis sets a world record for the 4 x 100 relay race. His time was just 8.85 seconds, which was a record from then all the way until 2007 when it was finally broken. No one could compete against Carl Lewis, who was seriously the fastest man in the world at the time, while the other competitors were just in a race for second place.

Carl Lewis

LeBron James

The phrase slam dunk is made for basketball, but sometimes, our heroes make it even more special for our entertainment. For example the Olympic leap by Vince Carter when he jumped clear over Shawn Bradley. A similar moment is seen here, when LeBron James jumped right over the head of John Lucas, slamming the ball through the net as he did so. We have to say, Lucas looks kind of terrified!

lebron james jumps over bulls guard

Ben Johnson

When you think of the speediest guy in the world, the name which jumps to everyones lips is Usain Bolt. But before he became the fastest man on the planet, there was Ben Johnson, who set a new record in 1988, winning a gold meal in South Korea. Unfortunately, his praise didn’t last long, as it was uncovered that he was using drugs which enhanced his performance. His medals were taken away, and he experienced nothing but shame.

Ben Johnson

Julius Peppers

Dual sports athletes are rare, but Julius Peppers was one of them, playing professionally for the NFL as a footballer, but also being a basketball star as well, playing in college. In this photo he is playing for North Carolina against Duke, showing that he is more than just a football player for sure, even though his career would take him into the NFL, memorably playing for both the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers.

Julius Peppers

Abebe Bikila

Marathon running takes months of practice, getting your body ready for such an incredible feat, building on skill and stamina and speed. When you’re asked to take part in the marathon on an Olympic scale, you know you’ve truly made it. Here is Abebe Bikila, shown in 1960, racing barefoot in the marathon event which took place in Rome. The heat during the day was so intense, that the event took place at night.

Abebe Bikila

Matthias Steiner

Matthias Steiner is an Olympic weightlifter, known for his skills lifting hundreds of pounds which have taken him to compete in the biggest competitions in the world. He is shown here at the 2012 Olympic Games which took place in London. The camera caught a terrifying moment, where he lost his balance lifting an insane 432 pounds. The weight landed on his neck, and this led to him having to leave the competition completely.

Matthias Steiner

Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson is probably one of the most famous names in the game of Basketball, after the basketball God Michael Jordan that is. This photo was taken just two weeks before Magic would announce his retirement from the game forever, thanks to his tragic diagnosis. While this is simply a preseason game, it’s one of the last times we would see his iconic passes, which makes it a photo you don’t want to miss.

magic johnson

The Greatest Game

On December 28, 1958, The Greatest Game Ever Played took place between Baltimore Colts and the New York Giants at the Yankee Stadium in New York. This was the first ever NFL playoff game to make it to sudden death overtime and is often thought of as the beginning of NFL’s rise in popularity. NBC broadcast the game, which led to many viewers on the edge of their seats. The final score was Baltimore Colts 23 and New York Giants 17.

The Greatest Game Ever Played in the NFL took place in December, 1958

The Thrilla in Manila

If you were alive in the 1970s then you probably remember this boxing match well. Often referred to as one of the most brutal heavyweight boxing matches in history, it saw one of our favorites (Muhammad Ali) take on Joe Frazier for the third time in their boxing careers. Muhammad Ali secured a TKO after the 14th round and Frazier never truly recovered from such a defeat. We’d highly recommend finding footage and giving it a watch – it’s nerve wracking stuff!

The Thrilla in Manila fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier is considered one of the most brutal boxing matches in history

Tiger Woods

Who could possibly forget the rise of the Tiger? On April 13, 1997, Tiger Woods became the youngest ever Masters champion aged just 21. He also set the all-time scoring record with his 18-under 270 score, which beat the runner up of the competition by an impressive 12 strokes. Of course, Tiger Woods would then go on to become one of the most talked about golfers of all time. Even if it wasn’t always for the right reasons (ahem).

Tiger Woods became the youngest ever Masters Champion in 1997, when he was just 21

Bill Mazeroski

When Bill Mazeroski turned up to play at Forbes Field on October 13, 1960, he probably never imagined that he was about to make MLB history. During the bottom of the ninth inning, Maz hit a walk-off home run to ensure the Pittsburgh Pirates victory against the New York Yankees. As it stands, this shot is still the only Game 7 walk-off homer in the history of the World Series. And what a beauty of a shot it was!

Bill Mazeroski made MLB history when he hit a walk-off home run back in 1960

Hank Aaron

Babe Ruth held the record for the number of home runs until April 8, 1974, when Hank Aaron took to the field and smashed that record out of the park. His two-run shot during the bottom of the fourth innings secured the record for Hank Aaron, with an impressive 715 home runs in his career. He actually finished his career with 755 home runs; a record he managed to hold onto for another 31 years, when Barry Bonds then took over the title.

Hank Aaron beat Babe Ruth’s home runs record in April 1974, reaching 715 home runs

Christian Laettner

Everyone loves an underdog story! During the 1992 NCAA Tournament East Regional Finals, Duke were trailing Kentucky by one point when ‘The Shot’ happened. Grant Hill inbounded the ball to the other side of the court, where Christian Laettner was waiting. Laettner faked, turned and then made his shot as everyone waited with bated breath. The ball went through the net as the time ran out, giving Duke the victory. Duke then went on to win the entire championship, making ‘The Shot’ even more special.

Christian Laettner managed to hit ‘The Shot’ for Duke just as the time ran out


It’s not just humans who set out to break records! In June 1973, at Belmont Park, this superstar horse would make waves in the Triple Crown. During the final race, Secretariat managed to win with a record-breaking time of 2:24, beating the competition by 31 lengths. This ensured Secretariat the first Triple Crown win in 25 years and a record that has not yet been broken. Even the next Triple Crown winner, 37 years later, was 2.1 seconds slower than Secretariat.

Secretariat won the first Triple Crown in 25 years and still holds the time record for the final race

The Rumble in the Jungle

This wouldn’t be an iconic sports moments article without at least a handful of Muhammad Ali moments, right?! Our next entry is thought to be one of the greatest fights of all time, and took place on October 30, 1974. The underdog at the time, Ali, took on the undefeated world heavyweight champion George Foreman and managed to knock him out in just eight rounds. It would be the second of many titles for Cassius Clay, AKA Muhammad Ali.

The Rumble in the Jungle was the second title for Muhammad Ali and saw him defeat George Foreman

Bobby Thompson

The Shot Heard ‘Round the World. Ever heard of that before? In the bottom of the ninth inning, New York Giants were trailing behind Brooklyn Dodgers 4-2 before Bobby Thompson took up his position. Knowing there were runners on second and third, the pressure was on for Thompson to hit it out of the park… And that’s exactly what he did! The ball went soaring into the left field stands and Bobby Thompson managed to make his own little bit of history.

Bobby Thompson hit the ‘Shot Heard ‘Round the World’ for the New York Giants

Don Larsen

We all strive to be perfect in everything we do; whether that’s in our work, our hobby, or (in Don Larsen’s game) a bit of both. During Game 5 of the 1956 World Series, Don Larsen became the first ever pitcher in MLB history to throw a perfect game. Totally blanking the Dodgers, Larsen ensured a 2-0 victory for New York Yankees, and helped the team toward their 17th World Series title. It is still the only perfect game in World Series history!

Don Larsen became the first ever pitcher to throw a perfect game in World Series history

The Play

This is not just one of the most iconic moments in sports history, but also one of the most absurd. In this college football game, Stanford Cardinal took the lead with just four seconds left, leading to the Stanford Band making their way onto the field in a premature celebration. California Golden Bears, however, weren’t going down without a fight and Kevin Moen made it the final 20-yards, to complete his touchdown and wipe out a band member in the process.

The Play, as it’s known, is one of the most absurd moments in college football history

Pete Rose

Back in 1989, Pete Rose (better known as Charlie Hustle) did the unthinkable: he bet on baseball while still playing and managing the Cincinnati Reds. The player had been at the top of his game for years, even winning the Most Valuable Player Award during 1973, but none of this stopped the allegations from cropping up. Although the rumors were never confirmed, Pete accepted a permanent spot on the baseball’s ineligible list meaning he would never be in the Hall of Fame.

Black and white photo of Pete Rose (Charlie Hustle) jumping head first into a base while playing baseball

Wayne Gretzky

Wayne Gretzky made National Hockey League history in 1994 as he overtook the record for the number of goals and assists in the history of the sport. When the player passed the top spot, he had 1,850 points, as well as being the only player to score 200 points in one season. Wayne really was unstoppable on the ice. In fact, the sport has since retired the use of any number 99 jersey to honor his incredible skills with a puck and stick.

Wayne Gretzky in 1994 wearing his number 99 jersey about to score his 804th goal in his career

Michael Chang

For any tennis lover, the tension can become too much. What if someone misses? Well, when Michael Chang made it to the French Open in 1989, he was never expected to beat his opponent, Ivan Lendl. Michael was clearly tired, but he never let it get to him. In fact, the 17-year-old kept rallying the ball back so high that Ivan didn’t know how to react. By confusing his opponent, Michael won the match and went on to win the entire tournament.

Michael Chung at 17 years old in 1989 at the French Open after he has just defeated Ivan Lendl

Dwight Clark

Everyone was on the edge of their seats during the NFC Championship game in 1982. The Dallas Cowboys were battling it out with the San Francisco 49ers to take home the crown, but who would be able to bag the win? With 21 seconds left, it was anyone’s game. That’s when Dwight Clark had his legendary catch that not only saw the 49ers win the game but also created one of the most memorable wins in the history of the sport.

Dwight Clark in his red and gold San Francisco 49ers uniform making his legendary catch in 1982

Bob Beamon

Thankfully there was someone poised with a camera to capture this incredible moment in time. Bob flew to victory at the 1968 Summer Olympics when he broke the long jump record by a staggering two feet. This American long jumper was able to reach 21 ft ¾ in – a record that he was able to maintain for 23 years. Even before making his way to the Olympics, Bob had won 22 out of 23 meets held throughout the year.

Black and white photo of Bob Beamon competing at the long jump in the 1968 Summer Olympics

Kerri Strug

It was at the 1996 Summer Olympics that Kerri Strug not only became a national hero, but she became an icon around the world. This gymnast was able to pull off a one-footed vault successfully. Why one foot? She had severely injured her ankle in a previous attempt at the move. Even though she was barely able to stand, Kerri nailed the movement and the landing enough to see her take home the gold. Nothing was going to stop this gymnast.

Kerri Strug wearing an American leotard performing at the 1996 Summer Olympics with a damaged ankle