A shoutout to memorable mom moments in sports history

A shoutout to memorable mom moments in sports history

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Arizona women’s basketball team hoists coach Adia Barnes son, Matteo, after beating UConn in Final Four.
Image: AP

None of the athletes we talk about would be where they are without their mothers, so to commemorate, here’s a list to honor some of the most memorable mom moments in sports history. It’s not necessarily a top 10, but a collection of highlights (and yes, one lowlight) to honor Mother’s Day 2021.

Let’s get it.

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Boston Red Sox Mother’s Day Miracle

Boston Red Sox Mother’s Day Miracle

Illustration for article titled A shoutout to memorable mom moments in sports history
Image: AP

The Sox were at their Fenway Park home and had been trailing the Baltimore Orioles 5-0 when they, powered by the Mother’s Day pink bats, brought in six runs in the inning to win the game in the ninth. The comeback featured an RBI double from David Ortiz, a bases-loaded walk, a two-run double from Jason Varitek, and then scoring the final two runs on a game-winning error. There are few things better than winning games you weren’t supposed to, which the Red Sox did 14 Mother’s Day’s ago. [Shouts to Julio Lugo!]

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Adia Barnes, a mother first and a coach second

Adia Barnes, a mother first and a coach second

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Image: Getty Images

Adia Barnes, nearly national championship-winning head coach of the Arizona Wildcats, became a country-wide hero during her team’s run to the Final Four. During the national championship game between Arizona and Stanford, Barnes pumped breast milk during halftime for her daughter, who was born six months prior. ESPN sideline reporter Holly Rowe then memorably said, “Let’s normalize working mothers and all that they have to do to make it happen.”

Though Arizona lost 54-53, Barnes did earn a five-year extension and will continue to lead the school’s women’s basketball program.

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Dallas Braden’s perfect game

Dallas Braden’s perfect game

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Image: AP

On Mother’s Day 2010, Oakland Athletics lefty Dallas Braden threw the 19th perfect game in Major League Baseball history. The A’s won 4-0 as Braden tossed nine perfect innings with six strikeouts. In attendance was his grandmother, Peggy Lindsey, who raised him following the death of his mother while he was in high school. And he also tossed the perfect game while hungover.

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Shabazz Napier, and his mom, take over March Madness

Shabazz Napier, and his mom, take over March Madness

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Image: AP

Shabazz Napier’s One Shining Moment came during UConn’s 2014 run to the National Championship, and his mother, Carmen Velasquez, became a fixture in the story-telling surrounding the Huskies’ run. In what became their second title in four years, Napier had his worst game of the historic run, finishing with four points on 1-of-7 shooting, but he recorded the four points late enough in the game to seal the victory and clinch a national championship chance. He did so in front of his mother, who he embraced afterward, and did so again following the title victory days later.

“She raised me by herself,” he said then. “It was tough, but at the end of the day, she got a great kid out of me.”

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Bill Hall’s walks it off

Bill Hall’s walks it off

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Image: AP

“How ‘bout a homer with the pink bat? Let’s get out of here.”

That’s what was said on the broadcast seconds before the Chad Bradford 2-0 delivery for Bill Hall found its way over the right-center field wall. It gave the Milwaukee Brewers a 2-0 victory over the New York Mets, and it gave Hall a career moment in front of his mom, who was in attendance and shown on the Mother’s Day broadcast. It was also the first year (2006) MLB began using pink bats on the day.

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Martin St. Louis’ Mother’s Day Goal

Martin St. Louis’ Mother’s Day Goal

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Image: AP

Martin St. Louis’ mother passed away due to a heart attack on May 8 during the NHL Playoffs. After talking to his father, he elected to continue playing the series, which his New York Rangers trailed the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 in the Eastern Conference semifinals prior to game six. Just three days following his mom’s passing, St. Louis netted game six’s first goal, a game the Rangers eventually won en route to an eventual Stanley Cup Finals appearance. When the Tampa Bay Lightning retired St. Louis’ number-26, his mother was the focal point of his audience address.

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Kim Clijsters and Serena Williams’ historical feats

Kim Clijsters and Serena Williams’ historical feats

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Image: AP

In women’s tennis, Kim Clijsters was 18 months removed from giving birth when becoming the first player in nearly 30 years to win a Grand Slam Title as a mother. It was also following a retirement. She also became the first mother to become a world No. 1 in 2011 following a victory at the Australian Open.

And in January 2017, never mind winning a 23rd Grand Slam Title, Serena Williams did it while around two months pregnant. She gave birth to her daughter late that summer and has since made four other Grand Slam finals, though she’s been 0-for-4 in her attempts. That 23rd Grand Slam, while pregnant, also came against her sister Venus.

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Paula Radcliffe’s historic New York Marathon

Paula Radcliffe’s historic New York Marathon

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Image: AP

Now retired British long-distance runner Paula Radcliffe has the resume of an all-time great, including numerous records and world championships several times over. She is a three-time winner of the New York Marathon, perhaps none more notable than in 2017. Radcliffe competed and won the Marathon nine months after giving birth to a healthy baby; a Marathon; she began training just 12 days following the arrival of her daughter Isla. It may sound extreme, but few people know of the phrase, “You gotta do what you gotta do,” better than Radcliffe.

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James ‘Buster’ Douglas knocks out Mike Tyson

James ‘Buster’ Douglas knocks out Mike Tyson

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Image: AP

It’s still arguably the biggest upset in the history of professional sports.

James ‘Buster’ Douglas was a stepping-stone fringe World Heavyweight Championship contender that entered the Tokyo Dome on February 11, 1990, as a 42-1 underdog. Twenty-three days before the bout, Douglas — then 28-4-1 with 18 knockouts — lost his mother, Lula Pearl, at just 46 years of age. Tyson entered with the IBF, WBC, and WBA World Heavyweight Championships, as well as a 37-0 record with 33 KO’s. The bout was meant to set up Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield later that year, which Douglas disrupted with the most seismic 10th round knockout in the history of 10-round knockouts.

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Stephanie McMahon slaps her mom, Linda

Stephanie McMahon slaps her mom, Linda

Illustration for article titled A shoutout to memorable mom moments in sports history
Image: AP

At Wrestlemania 2000, each McMahon [Vince, Shane, Linda, and Stephanie] represented a competitor in the main event Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match for the WWE Championship. Triple H, accompanied by Stephanie, retained the title, and eventually, the McMahons were aligned against The Rock, other than Linda. Two weeks later, Linda came out on Monday Night Raw to cut a promo on how the deck was heavily stacked against The Rock for his title opportunity at Backlash in 13 days, to which Stephanie took exception. For her troubles in interrupting her mother, she received a slap in the face.

And one Honorable Mention... 

Jeremy Lin dunks on his mother

Sometimes, you just gotta dunk on your mom. But if you do, chances are you aren’t a 100th of the athlete Jeremy Lin is, so do it safely.

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