I’ve argued with myself for years on this, but I have a really hard time trying to pick which sports month is my favorite on the calendar.
Different times of year have their charms, but in the end it always comes down to two: October (the World Series, NFL has returned, NBA is on the way back, soccer leagues around the world are in full swing) and the month we just lived – April.
With NBA and NHL regular seasons ending/playoffs beginning, baseball returning, Champions League knockout stages, the Masters, and plenty more, April always delivers. It also helps that the weather finally turns for the better, and a little sun helps break us out of our wintry cages.
This April was no different, with a lot of sports greatness to cover in this month’s recap.
The best basketball players in the world just wrapped up their regular season in April and 16 teams set out on a quest to win the NBA title soon thereafter (condolences, as of this writing, to the Bucks and Lakers).
A slew of notable records – both in-season and postseason accomplishments – happened this month, highlighted by a pair of generational sharpshooters.
Golden State Warriors fourth-year pro Stephen Curry finished his year nailing 272 three-pointers, breaking Ray Allen’s mark for most 3s made in a single NBA season (269 in 2005-06). Curry shot a blistering 45.3% from downtown en route to the record, and has so far continued putting on a show in the first round of the playoffs.
Allen himself was able to find consolation in another long-range record of his own: the Miami Heat veteran passed Reggie Miller’s mark of 320 for the most career three-pointers made in the playoffs. Allen and the Heat, still prohibitive favorites to win the title, continue playing and he’s reached 326 trifectas thus far.
Another amazing postseason record set this month: San Antonio Spurs duo Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan have the most postseason wins by any coach-player combo in history, with 121 and counting. After sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round, the pair doesn’t seem intent on stopping anytime soon.
FROM THE PITCH
Domestic soccer seasons are coming to a close around the world, meaning records galore.
This includes Manchester United (pictured above) wrapping up the Premier League title, its record 20th triumph in England’s top flight. The victory – secured with four matches still left to play – also extended Sir Alex Ferguson and Ryan Giggs’ records for the most Premier League titles won by a manager and player, respectively, each earning their lucky 13th.
Also in the Premier League, a bit of a dubious distinction this month: when Fabian Delph put it in his own net against Fulham, it marked the 44th cumulative own goal of the season for the world’s most famous soccer league. This surpassed the previous high of 43 set in the 2009-10 campaign.
Check back next month as we dive deeper into some notable soccer achievements (Leo Messi, anyone?) after the globe’s various seasons conclude.
AROUND THE WORLD
The X-Games visited Brazil for the first time in April and Jamie Bestwick made the trip to Foz do Iguaçu worth it, winning the gold in BMX vert for a record-setting seventh straight time, the most consecutive wins in any X-Games event. ...Chinese teenager Guan Tianlang made history at the Masters, becoming not only theyoungest player to ever compete at Augusta, but also the youngest to ever make the Masters cut – all at the not-even-old-enough-to-drive-yet age of 14. …Lastly, in one of the more impressive ongoing streaks around, the Detroit Red Wings made the NHL playoffs for a 22nd straight season, the longest active streak and 13 years longer than next best (San Jose). The Wings now look up to only four streaks longer in the history of the league, led by the Boston Bruins appearing in 29 straight playoffs from 1967-68 to 1995-96.
Sad to say goodbye to April, but enjoy some walks outside and check back in a month to see what May brings!