2020 was an unprecedented year for many, but this article focuses on the rare fascinating facts, monumental milestones, and remarkable records that occurred during this unique year in sports. While COVID-19 and Kobe Bryant’s death brought some tragic stories that defined the start of the 2020’s, the MLB, NBA, and NFL all bounced back and records started getting broken on a regular basis once they returned.
Here are the 20 most interesting sports facts to know from 2020:
No surprise, Covid-19 was the story of 2020, and the sports world was hit with a boom.
Today is Day 59 without any of the 4 major North American pro sports (MLB/NBA/NHL/NFL)— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) May 9, 2020
It's the longest stretch with no regular season games in any league since the summer of 1981 (MLB strike)
RB Royce Freeman and WR Kendall Hinton will likely take snaps for the Broncos at QB on Sunday.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 29, 2020
The last time a non-QB started for an NFL team (regular season or playoffs) was in 1965, when RB Tom Matte made a pair of starts for the Colts.
H/T @EliasSports pic.twitter.com/YC8H8xaoCf
2020 shocked the sports world with the death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant.
RIP Kobe Bryant— StatMuse (@statmuse) January 26, 2020
• 5x Champ
• 2x Finals MVP
• 2008 MVP
• 18x All-Star
• 15x All-NBA
• 12x All-Defense
• 2x Scoring champ
• 1st in points, games, wins in Lakers history (regular season & playoffs)
• Only player with 2 numbers retired for the same team pic.twitter.com/9HnTAiMcra
With all the negative events of 2020, Kim Ng and Becky Hammon brightened the year by breaking boundaries for all females in sports.
Kim Ng has become the 1st female GM in MLB history 👏 https://t.co/qQ8wpwPKfA— Pro Sports Outlook (@PSO_Sports) November 13, 2020
Year after year, LeBron refuses to give into father time, and he heads into 2021 with a full head of steam to repeat as the best player in the sport still.
🐐 status https://t.co/w91hDjriOW— Pro Sports Outlook (@PSO_Sports) December 23, 2020
This is insane 🐐 https://t.co/CcruabmEJB— Pro Sports Outlook (@PSO_Sports) October 7, 2020
LeBron James has more Finals appearances than 27 current NBA franchises. pic.twitter.com/x8XlMgetPU— StatMuse (@statmuse) September 27, 2020
In his young career, Patrick Mahomes is already on pace to be one of the greatest QBs of all-time.
LA Dodgers overcame the tough year behind star Clayton Kershaw to win the World Series.
Clayton Kershaw has passed Justin Verlander for most post season K’s (207!) 😤— pointspreads (@pointspreads11) October 26, 2020
Congrats to a GOAT! 🐐#PointSpreads #Dodgers #Rays #WorldSeries #WorldSeries2020 #ClaytonKershaw #Spreads #MLBNews pic.twitter.com/Hyft7aGNc7
Los Angeles Dodgers became the 1st team in MLB postseason history to score more than 10 runs in a single inning pic.twitter.com/2amE4CSNZn— Pro Sports Outlook (@PSO_Sports) October 15, 2020
The Los Angeles Dodgers now have the 2nd most World Series appearances (21) in MLB history, trailing only the New York Yankees (40) pic.twitter.com/VmxCwzyztg— Pro Sports Outlook (@PSO_Sports) October 19, 2020
The New England Patriots were one of the most dominant dynasties of the 21st century, but Bill Belichick’s reign ended abruptly in 2020 with the departure of Tom Brady.
With the Bills winning, the Patriots streak of division titles officially ends at 11 straight.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 14, 2020
Only the Braves had a longer division title streak in NFL/NHL/MLB/NBA history (14). pic.twitter.com/paYJhDZz4u
The Patriots are eliminated from playoff contention...— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) December 20, 2020
That snaps a streak of 11 straight seasons making the playoffs (2009-2019), which was the longest such streak in NFL history
The Patriots loss was their 7th of the season, meaning that New England will finish with fewer than 10 wins for the first time since 2002.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 11, 2020
That snaps a streak of 17 consecutive seasons with at least 10 wins, the longest streak in NFL history. pic.twitter.com/3ASFVnBS7H
With a win tonight, the Bills will become the first team to sweep the Patriots in the regular season under the current division format (since 2002).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 29, 2020
New England is the only team since 2002 that hasn't been swept by a divisional opponent. pic.twitter.com/7QNxM1hm0b
The Patriots have lost four straight games for the first time since 2002.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 1, 2020
Since the start of the 2003 season, there had been 284 losing streaks of at least 4 games (including streaks spanning seasons) entering today and New England was the only team without a single one. pic.twitter.com/eTXgsEvuWU
Even though the pandemic decimated revenues around sports, some athletes still signed record-breaking deals as owners expect profits to go back up after the vaccine is widely distributed.
It’s the first half Billion dollar player in sports history and the largest contract in sports history. It’s also the first time an NFL player has been the highest-paid player in sports history. https://t.co/dSzKmS7wbM— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 6, 2020
Bam Adebayo's deal will be the largest in Heat franchise history, surpassing Jimmy Butler's $141M deal from last offseason.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 28, 2020
Adebayo's deal is the eighth $100M contract in Heat franchise history, three more than any other franchise pic.twitter.com/3PPAYDMOwi
Brandon Ingram's five-year, $158M deal will be the largest in Pelicans franchise history.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 24, 2020
Ingram recorded 11 30-point games last season after posting 4 in his first 3 seasons with the Lakers. pic.twitter.com/ThhkhvFw7U
Fred VanVleet's reported $85M deal is by far the largest in total value for an undrafted player in NBA history, previous record was $70.1M by Wes Matthews.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 21, 2020
VanVleet’s 17.6 PPG last season were the most by an undrafted player since Mike James for the Raptors in 2005-06 (20.3). pic.twitter.com/YH16dnjDIM
Rudy Gobert has agreed to a 5-year, $205M extension with the Jazz, he told ESPN. It’s the biggest contract ever for a big man. Gobert: “It means they believe in me. They believe in what we’ve been building over the years with this whole organization.” https://t.co/hPJwYMdSS5— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) December 20, 2020
Based on the projected salary cap for next season, Paul George's 4-year contract extension will have an average annual value of $44.1M.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 10, 2020
That would tie Damian Lillard for the largest average annual value of a contract in NBA history. pic.twitter.com/xZjf0uuA2F
With all the pro sports leagues being postponed, they came back in bunches and made history on September 10th.
Sports fans get ready! September 10th, 2020 marks the 1st day EVER that all 6 of these leagues will host games on the same day:— Pro Sports Outlook (@PSO_Sports) September 10, 2020
- MLS pic.twitter.com/Nj0yByqXYY
The NBA bubble was better than anyone thought it would be, and two new stars emerged under the bright lights in a historic 7-game series.
Donovan Mitchell and Jamal Murray combined to score 475 points in this series. That is the most combined points by opposing players in a series in NBA history. The previous record was by Jerry West and John Havlicek in the 1969 NBA Finals (463). pic.twitter.com/iu2Z8tUMS8— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 2, 2020
There have been four 50-point games in this '20 postseason. That is the most 50-point games in a single postseason in NBA history.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 31, 2020
Of course, all four have come via Murray and Mitchell in the Nuggets-Jazz series. pic.twitter.com/2PnoyeD1K9
Luka Doncic has already earned much respect in the basketball world in only his 2nd year, proving that he was well worth the high draft pick.
Luka's 1st 20 years of life were legendary https://t.co/AD3la0VFEb— Pro Sports Outlook (@PSO_Sports) February 29, 2020
Luka Doncic has his 22nd triple-double which surpasses Jason Kidd for the most triple-doubles in Mavericks history.— Matt Smith (@SmanSports) March 5, 2020
Luka has played 122 games, Kidd played 500. pic.twitter.com/7v8PBRweWa
Tampa Bay made their AL championship run with some historic performances.
The Rays scored 67.1% of their runs this postseason via home runs— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) October 28, 2020
That is the highest rate for a team in a single postseason, min 10 games, surpassing the 1998 Indians (63.2%)
And Randy Arozarena broke out in the postseason with one of the all-time MLB playoff performances.
Nobody has hit more HR in a single postseason than Randy Arozarena 😤 pic.twitter.com/Nv4yPypyIu— Pro Sports Outlook (@PSO_Sports) October 25, 2020
2020 Randy Arozarena is now the single-season postseason hits leader (27) after passing 2014 Pablo Sandoval (26) pic.twitter.com/qrYM9biOaB— Pro Sports Outlook (@PSO_Sports) October 26, 2020
LeBron’s throne was finally challenged this season by Giannis, as the Greek Freak broke some unseen records and solidified himself as the best regular-season player in the game right now.
Giannis is one of the most efficiently effective players ever https://t.co/gXulkIhS0U— Pro Sports Outlook (@PSO_Sports) February 23, 2020
Not sure which one is more impressive.— StatMuse (@statmuse) February 21, 2020
1️⃣ Giannis on pace to be the first player to average 30/13.5/5.5 since 1951
2️⃣ He's doing that in less than 31 MPG pic.twitter.com/4OJAartP5n
Giannis held opponents to 36.3% FG when he was the closest defender, the lowest FG% allowed by any player in a season since Second Spectrum started tracking the stat in 2013-14 (min. 525 FGA) https://t.co/YZgt8p6SbU— Pro Sports Outlook (@PSO_Sports) August 26, 2020
Chargers took a gamble on Justin Herbert early, and it’s paying off big time, as he had a historic rookie season.
Justin Herbert made more history Thursday night, matching Baker Mayfield for the most TD passes by a rookie in NFL history.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 18, 2020
Herbert also had his 7th 300-yard passing game, breaking a tie with Andrew Luck (2012) for the most by a rookie in NFL history. pic.twitter.com/415RXQdpTn
After becoming the first rookie QB in NFL history with 4,000+ pass yards and 25+ pass TDs, @Chargers' Justin Herbert gives credit to his teammates and coaches throughout his life (@Amanda_Balionis) pic.twitter.com/yfS3wuIe2O— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS) December 28, 2020
Justin Herbert threw 4 TD in his first career prime-time game on Monday Night Football in Week 5 and had 3 TD Thursday night (2 Pass, 1 Rush).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 18, 2020
Herbert's 7 combined Pass/Rush TD are the most by a QB in his first 2 prime-time starts since the 1970 merger. H/T @EliasSports pic.twitter.com/rA9hFSR2b6
Kobe, Tim Duncan, and KG combined for the most legendary HOF class ever.
Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan & Kevin Garnett are expected to headline this year’s class of Basketball Hall of Fame finalists when announced later tonight.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 14, 2020
The trio combined for 48 All-Star selections, the most combined All-Star selections by any trio to retire within a single season. pic.twitter.com/iLzEUcwHyM
The greatest executive of all-time, Theo Epstein, walked away from the team he built a World contender for to end a historic title drought.
Theo Epstein helped snap 2 of the 3 longest droughts between World Series titles in MLB history pic.twitter.com/5YHCscIqzM— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 17, 2020
With no fans in the stands, NBA teams were feeling it from distance more than ever before.
Los Angeles Lakers took an NBA Finals record 47 3PA in Game 2 https://t.co/R0pKV40ENc— Pro Sports Outlook (@PSO_Sports) October 3, 2020
The NFC East in 2020 will go down as the worst division ever.
The NFC East winner will be making history this year https://t.co/jh9JPj5LMT— Pro Sports Outlook (@PSO_Sports) January 1, 2021
Every team in the NFC East has a point differential of -25 or worse.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 16, 2020
According to @EliasSports the only other division to do that through 10 weeks since the 1970 merger is the 2015 AFC South (excluding the strike-shortened 1982 season). pic.twitter.com/hHsknlQA0i
It's pretty crazy that EVERY single team in the NFC West (Seahawks, 49ers, Rams, Cardinals) is better than EVERY single team in the NFC East (Cowboys, Eagles, Giants, Washington) https://t.co/HtjFeJjity— Pro Sports Outlook (@PSO_Sports) October 20, 2020