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To The Legends And The Lost

This year, we crowned champions and bid some farewell. Here are a few of the most iconic moments of 2016.

January 11, 2016

This was Clemson's year. Dabo Sweeney's team had the No. 1 seed in the College Football Playoff and an undefeated record when it faced off against Alabama. While they came closer than anyone else did, the Crimson Tide were too much for the Tigers, capturing Nick Saban's fifth national title with a 45-40 win. Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

February 7, 2016

After years of being the anchor for his team, this time Peyton Manning got a boost from his defense as the Broncos shut down the Panthers in Super Bowl 50 to give Manning a hero's sendoff -- the 200th and final victory of his Hall of Fame career. Andrew Hancock for ESPN

April 4, 2016

North Carolina's Marcus Paige hit a double-clutch 3-pointer to tie the national title game at 74, then Villanova's Kris Jenkins answered with one of his own at the buzzer to give the Wildcats a 77-74 win and their first championship since 1985. Bill Frakes for ESPN

April 5, 2016

The UConn women won ... again. This, their record fourth straight NCAA title, was led by Breanna Stewart, who won her fourth straight Final Four MOP award. The first pick in the WNBA draft, Stewart was also the unanimous player of the year, capturing the Wooden Award, Sullivan Award and AP Player of the Year. AP Photo/Michael Conroy

April 13, 2016

Kobe Bryant's storybook career came to a close in Utah with a 60-point performance in a 101-96 win. Bryant's legacy in Los Angeles includes five NBA titles, 18 All-Star selections and third-most points scored in NBA history. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

The Kobe Bryant-Shaquille O'Neal Lakers teams from 2000-2002 will be remembered as some of the most dominant in NBA history. During that time, the duo had a 12-3 record in the NBA Finals. Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images

April 13, 2016

Stephen Curry captured his second straight NBA MVP award, winning this one as the league's unanimous pick. Also, he led his Warriors to a league-record 73 wins in the regular season and hit 402 3-pointers, shattering his single-season record of 286 from 2014-15. Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images

May 2, 2016

After 132 years, Leicester City was finally able to raise the Premier League trophy to close out their storybook season. Leicester managed to capture the title, despite starting the year with 5,000-1 odds to win it all. Michael Regan/Getty Images

May 29, 2016

Cristiano Ronaldo once again tore through the Champions League, leading Real Madrid to the title. His 55 goals were the sixth straight season he had scored at least 50. In the process, he became the leading scorer in Champions League history. To top it off, Ronaldo narrowly edged out Lionel Messi for the Ballon d'Or, world football's top individual prize. AP Photo/Paul White

June 3, 2016

From Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali, the man behind it all lit up any arena he was in, from the boxing ring to the podium to his many appearances on ABC Sports with Howard Cosell. He fought a courageous battle with Parkinson's disease for decades until finally succumbing to the illness in June. Stanley Weston/Getty Images

Everyone who ever met Ali had a story for a lifetime. He may have not always held the heavyweight title, but to one and all his title of being "The Greatest" was undisputed. Bob Gomel/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

Before the Fight of the Century, the Rumble in the Jungle and the Thrilla in Manila, Ali faced off against Sonny Liston in a fight that produced a title for Ali and one of the most iconic images in sports history. AP Photo/John Rooney

June 10, 2016

It seemed that nothing could stop Gordie Howe -- not NHL defenses or Father Time. Mr. Hockey will go down as the only person in history to play in the NHL in five different decades. Charles Hoff/NY Daily News/Getty Images

June 12, 2016

It had been seven long years of career-threatening concussions and early playoff exits since Sidney Crosby was able to raise the Stanley Cup over his head. Now he was champion again and Conn Smythe Award winner to boot. AP Photo/Paul Sancya

June 19, 2016

LeBron James came back to Cleveland for one reason: to win an NBA title. All he had to do to get one was defeat the defending champion Warriors, who had just set the league record for wins in a season with 73. Joe Murphy /NBAE/Getty Images

In leading the Cavs to their first NBA title in franchise history, James was named the unanimous Finals MVP as the first player ever to lead a full playoff series in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. Also, the Cavs were the first team in Finals history to overcome a 3-1 series deficit. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The party in Cleveland started the second the clock hit zero in Game 7. It was not just the first in Cavs history, but the first title in Cleveland since the Browns won the NFL championship in 1964. AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

June 19, 2016

Golf isn't just a sport, it's a mental game. Add the pressure of trying to win one of the sport's four major titles and you can see how some of these athletes can just collapse. Remarkably, that didn't happen to Dustin Johnson, who won the U.S. Open despite not knowing for 13 holes if he would be assessed a controversial penalty. David Cannon/Getty Images

July 8, 2016

A series of injuries cost Serena Williams the No. 1 ranking in September, but that couldn't cloud another stellar year for Williams. Williams tied Steffi Graf's Grand Slam title count by winning her 22nd in July at Wimbledon. Joe Robbins/Getty Images

June 28, 2016

Pat Summitt accomplished more in her time at Tennessee than most basketball programs have in their entire existence. Her tireless pioneering drive for women's basketball and her eight national titles will forever be remembered after passing away far too young from Alzheimer's at 64. Joe Robbins/Getty Images

August 9, 2016

Simone Biles left Rio as one of the most-decorated gymnasts in history with four gold medals and one bronze. Included in her haul was the coveted individual all-around gold and the honor of being the flag bearer for the closing ceremonies -- the first female gymnast to do so. Adam Pretty/Getty Images

August 12, 2016

There's winning, there's dominance and then there's Katie Ledecky. Ledecky won four gold and one silver medal while setting two world records in Rio -- all at the age of 19. Al Bello/Getty Images

August 14, 2016

Usain Bolt delivered his own farewell performance, by winning gold in the 100 meters for the third straight time, something no runner had ever accomplished. Later, Bolt would anchor Jamaica to a gold medal in the 4x100 for his ninth, and final, gold medal. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

August 14, 2016

Michael Phelps ended his prolific Olympic career in Rio with his record 23rd gold medal. To put that in perspective, no other athlete in history has more than nine gold medals. Alex Livesey/Getty Images

September 25, 2016

Vin Scully walked away from the Dodgers' broadcast booth after an unprecedented 67 years as the team's play-by-play announcer. His legendary career spanned from calling Jackie Robinson's games in Brooklyn in 1950 to those of Clayton Kershaw in 2016. Gerald Smith/NBC/Getty Images

September 25, 2016

Arnold Palmer truly was "The King" when it came to golf. Among his countless awards, honors and influences, the leader of "Arnie's Army" will be best remembered as golf's premier ambassador in the modern era. Gerald Smith/NBC/Getty Images

September 25, 2016

The loss of pitcher Jose Fernandez in a boating accident at the age of 24 wasn't just a loss to the Marlins rotation. It was a loss to the future of baseball and the entire Cuban community who looked to him as a beacon of hope. Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports

November 2, 2016

The 2016 World Series finally allowed Cubs fans to go from "wait 'til next year" to "this is the year," ending a 108-year title drought. Matthew Thomas for ESPN

Chicago didn't make it easy on its fans, needing to overcome a 3-1 Series deficit and an extra-innings Game 7 to take down the Cleveland Indians. Andrew Hancock for ESPN

Cubs president Theo Epstein can now lay claim to the title of Curse Killer after building teams in Boston and Chicago that ended historic title droughts. Andrew Hancock for ESPN

November 12, 2016

When he wasn't providing over-the-top news conference performances, Conor McGregor also was making news in the ring. His two fights against Nate Diaz set multiple MMA pay-per-view records.Jason Silva/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire

December 16, 2016

After a lengthy and valiant battle with leukemia, bon vivant sideline reporter Craig Sager passed away at 65. The 2016 Jimmy V Award winner was best personified by Pacers president Larry Bird, who said, "The league will not be the same without him." Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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