Top Memorial Day Sports Moments

Top Memorial Day Sports Moments

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer. It also just so happens to fall on the sports calendar in the middle of the MLB season, the NHL Playoffs, and the NBA Playoffs. You can wager on those sports on Memorial Day this year on the best sports betting sites, and hopefully you'll get to catch a great moment or two.

With that in mind, here's a look back at some of the top Memorial Day sports moments.

1985: The Memorial Day Massacre

The Boston Celtics defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1984 NBA Finals in seven games and the two teams met again in the 1985 NBA Finals. Game 1 took place on Memorial Day, with the Celtics setting an NBA record for points in an NBA Finals game (148) as well as points in a half (79), in a 148-114 victory. This game was dubbed the "Memorial Day Massacre." However, the Lakers ultimately bounced back to win the series and the 1985 NBA championship.

Of note, the last NBA Finals game played on Memorial Day came the following year, in 1986. It was a 112-100 Game 1 win by the Celtics over the Houston Rockets, with Boston going on to win that series, 4-2, taking home the third Larry O'Brien Trophy of the Larry Bird era.

Michael "Memorial Day" Jordan: 1991, 1993, and 1996

Michael Jordan had plenty of notable playoff accomplishments, so it isn't surprising that he's also the source of three of the top Memorial Day performances. Memorial Day 1991 marked the date that Jordan's Bulls finally vanquished the "Bad Boy" Pistons. After losing to Detroit in each of the previous three postseasons, Jordan scored 29 points in a 115-94 win that completed an emphatic series sweep for the first of his six NBA titles.

MJ was back in the spotlight on Memorial Day 1993, scoring 54 points in a 115-94 win over the New York Knicks to tie their Eastern Conference Finals series at two games apiece. Chicago went on to win that series, 4-2, en route to a third consecutive NBA title.

Arguably the most memorable Memorial Day game from Jordan came in 1996. Led by his 45 points, the Bulls completed a sweep of the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals in a game that also marked Shaquille O'Neal's last game in an Orlando uniform.

2006: Nadal Breaks Clay Court Record

In 2006, Rafael Nadal defeated Robin Soderling, 6-2, 7-5, 6-1, in the first round of the French Open. This was Nadal's 54th consecutive win on clay, breaking a tie with Guillermo Vilas for the most all-time. The King of Clay went on to capture his second French Open title that year; Nadal now has 14 and counting. 

Another top Memorial Day tennis moment occurred at the French Open in 1997. A 16-year-old Venus Williams made her Grand Slam debut, defeating Naoko Sawamatsu, 6-2, 6-7 (2), 7-5.

1977: Eckersley's Excellent Memorial Day

Dennis Eckersley etched his name into the baseball record books on Memorial Day 1977 by throwing a no-hitter against the California Angels. The future Hall of Famer struck out 12 and walked just one in his masterful performance for the then-Cleveland Indians.

1951: Mays Hits First Career MLB Home Run

Playing in his fourth MLB game, Willie Mays hit his first career home run for the New York Giants on Memorial Day 1951 against the Milwaukee Braves. Mays finished his legendary career with 660 home runs, which ranks sixth-most all time.

2018: Golden Knights Defy Vegas Betting Odds

Back to a more modern-day Memorial Day moment, the Vegas Golden Knights exceeded even the most optimistic expectations in the expansion franchise's first NHL season. The Golden Knights made it all the way to the NHL Stanley Cup Finals.

Vegas would win Game 1 against the Washington Capitals on Memorial Day 2018 by a 6-4 score. That wound up being the Golden Knights' only victory in the series, as Alex Ovechkin led the Capitals to a five-game series win to capture the Stanley Cup.

You had to be in Vegas to bet on the Golden Knights back then, but with the subsequent expansion of mobile sports betting, you can now use sports betting apps to wager on the Golden Knights' current Stanley Cup odds.

Sasha Yodashkin
Sasha has been contributing NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB and Tennis content to RotoWire since 2015, with an emphasis on DFS. He is a huge New York sports fan who has been playing fantasy sports since middle school.