A look back at the 10 most-read sports stories on KSL.com from 2021

BYU fans celebrate after winning an NCAA college football game against Utah at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, September 11, 2021. BYU won 26-17. (Shafkat Anowar, Desert News)

Estimated reading time: 5-6 minutes

LOS ANGELES – It’s hard to sum up a sports season, but what a year it has been.

There have been ups and downs and everything in between, but most of all, a lot of great athletic accomplishments for the athletes and sports programs competing in the state of Utah.

Whether Utah Jazz sets the best record in the NBA in the 2020/21 season, BYU becomes the Big 12, Utah goes to the Rose Bowl or the incredible turn in football in the state of Utah – there is a lot of sad news to celebrate.

Here’s a look at the top 10 most-read sports stories of the past year:

Patrick Kinahan: Ohio State is doing the impossible by spoiling Rose Bowl

Ohio State receiver Garrett Wilson (right) celebrates his touchdown against Michigan State with teammate Chris Olave during the first half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, November 20, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio.Ohio State receiver Garrett Wilson (right) celebrates his touchdown against Michigan State with teammate Chris Olave during the first half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, November 20, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo: Jay LaPrete, Associated Press)

Author: Patrick Kinahan, KSL.com contributor

Release date: December 28th

Summary: Prior to the 2022 Rose Bowl, four Ohio state players opted out of the bowl game to pursue the NFL draft. Plain and simple, there is no other way to name it, the choice of multiple Ohio State players has tarnished the greatest tradition in college football.

Utah soccer player Aaron Lowe killed in shootings on Sunday morning

Samuelu Elisaia, right, former University of Utah football player and teammate of second defensive player Aaron Lowe, and University of Utah student Madison Jacobus embrace in front of a makeshift memorial during the shooting incident in Salt Das Sugar on Sunday, September 26, 2021 House district of Lake City.  Aaron Lowe, a sophomore student and University of Utah football defender, was shot and killed early Sunday morning during a house party.Samuelu Elisaia, right, former University of Utah football player and teammate of second defensive player Aaron Lowe, and University of Utah student Madison Jacobus embrace in front of a makeshift memorial during the shooting incident in Salt Das Sugar on Sunday, September 26, 2021 House district of Lake City. Aaron Lowe, a sophomore student and University of Utah football defender, was shot and killed early Sunday morning during a house party. (Photo: Shafkat Anowar, Deseret News)

Author: Josh Furlong, KSL.com

Release date: September 26th

Summary: Almost nine months before the death of his high school friend Ty Jordan, defense attorney Aaron Lowe was killed at a party following Utah’s victory over Washington state. It marked the second death of two Utah football players in less than a year – both wearing the number 22.

Utah jazz legend Mark Eaton, 64, dies after an apparent bicycle accident

Mark Eaton hugs former Utah jazz coach Jerry Sloan during a ceremony to unveil a banner in Sloan's honor during halftime of the Utah jazz game in Salt Lake City on Friday, January 31, 2014.Mark Eaton hugs former Utah jazz coach Jerry Sloan during a ceremony to unveil a banner in Sloan’s honor during halftime of the Utah jazz game in Salt Lake City on Friday, January 31, 2014. (Photo: Jeffrey Allred, Deseret News)

Author: Ryan Miller, KSL.com

Release date: May 29th

Summary: Former Utah Jazz Center and two-time NBA Defender of the Year Mark Eaton died after being found unconscious after an apparent bicycle accident near his Summit County home. Eaton played eleven seasons with the Utah Jazz from 1982 to 1993 and became one of the game’s top defenders.

Former BYU-NBA star Shawn Bradley is paralyzed after a bicycle accident near the home of St. George

Mavericks center Shawn Bradley approaches the referee when he is charged with a technical foul in the first half of a game against Jazz.  Mavs security guard Robert Pack (right) tries to get Shawn to give in.Mavericks center Shawn Bradley approaches the referee when he is charged with a technical foul in the first half of a game against Jazz. Mavs security guard Robert Pack (right) tries to get Shawn to give in. (Photo: Gary M. McKellar, Deseret News)

Author: Sean Walker, KSL.com

Release date: 17. March

Summary: Former BYU and NBA star Shawn Bradley was paralyzed after being hit by a vehicle while riding his bike in January, but details were not released until March. Bradley was driving near his home in St. George when he was hit by a vehicle from behind.

After an emergency landing, Jazz finally flies to Memphis – but without Donovan Mitchell

A Delta Airlines aircraft makes its approach to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in Grapevine, Texas this Monday, June 24, 2019, file photo.A Delta Airlines aircraft makes its approach to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in Grapevine, Texas this Monday, June 24, 2019, file photo. (Photo: Tony Gutierrez, Associated Press)

Author: Ryan Miller, KSL.com

Release date: March 30

Summary: Minutes after the charter flight from Utah Jazz took off for its scheduled game against Memphis, the plane hit a flock of birds, causing an engine fire and failure. The plane had to make an emergency landing. When everything was settled and the jazz took a new flight, Donovan Mitchell gave up the trip.

Biles withdraws from the gymnastics finals to protect the team themselves

Simone Biles from the USA observes Turner at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo on Tuesday, July 27, 2021.  Biles says she's not in the right place Simone Biles from the USA observes Turner at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo on Tuesday, July 27, 2021. Biles says she is not in the right “headspace” to compete and withdrew from the gymnastics team final to protect herself. (Photo: Ashley Landis, Associated Press)

Author: Will Graves, Associated Press

Release date: July 27th

Summary: Among all the stories from the Summer Olympics, it was Simone Biles who withdrew from gymnastics team competitions who stole the stage. Considered the greatest of all time in the sport, the gymnast said she retired to protect her sanity. Biles later said she got the “Twisties” and was having a hard time getting back into the sport.

Olympic dream “completed”: MyKayla Skinner wins silver in the jump

Mykayla Skinner of the United States performs on the vault during the Women's Artistic Gymnastics Apparatus Finals at the 2020 Summer Olympics on Sunday August 1, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.Mykayla Skinner of the United States performs on the vault during the Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Apparatus Finals at the 2020 Summer Olympics on Sunday August 1, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo: Ashley Landis, Associated Press)

Author: Josh Furlong, KSL.com

Release date: August 1st

Summary: With Simone Biles out of the vault singles event, former University of Utah gymnast MyKayla Skinner has been called to appear at the event to replace Biles. Skinner represented Team USA well and finished the event with silver, which rounded off an incredible story of redemption and hard work.

9 no longer: BYU grabs with an emphatic 26:17 win against No. 21 Utes. the defeat

BYU players celebrate and Utah players look out for the exit as they drop the Ute in an NCAA football game at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, September 11, 2021.BYU players celebrate and Utah players look out for the exit as they drop the Ute in an NCAA football game at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo: Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

Author: Sean Walker, KSL.com and Josh Furlong, KSL.com

Release date: September 11

Summary: After nine failed attempts, BYU football finally shook off the drought to beat rival Utah after a decade. The Cougars dominated the crowd at LaVell Edwards Stadium from start to finish in an electric setting. In the end, nearly 60,000 fans joined Kalani Sitake and the players on the pitch for an after-party.

It’s official: After a decade of independence, BYU will become the Big 12 in 2023

BYU Sports Director Tom Holmoe speaks at a press conference at which the school announced that it has accepted an invitation to attend the Big 12 conference in Provo on Friday, September 10, 2021.  On the right, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby is videoconferencing.  BYU will practice all of the sports offered by the Big 12 except horse riding, rowing, and wrestling.  Men's volleyball continues to be played in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation as the Big 12 don't offer the sport.BYU Sports Director Tom Holmoe speaks at a press conference at which the school announced that it has accepted an invitation to attend the Big 12 conference in Provo on Friday, September 10, 2021. On the right, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby is videoconferencing. BYU will practice all of the sports offered by the Big 12 except horse riding, rowing, and wrestling. Men’s volleyball continues to be played in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation as the Big 12 don’t offer the sport. (Photo: Laura Seitz, desert news)

Author: Sean Walker, KSL.com

Release date: September 10

Summary: One day before the end of a nine-game losing streak against rivals Utah, BYU officially accepted an invitation to the Big 12 with Cincinnati, Houston and UCF. The jump to a power five conference and the end of BYU independence won’t come until 2023, but it was the start of an incredible weekend for BYU sport.

A fan crossed the line, but Clarkson realized that his daughter’s future Bugatti wasn’t worth it

Jordan Clarkson celebrates Utah's win over Dallas.Jordan Clarkson celebrates Utah’s win over Dallas. (Photo: Shafkat Anowar, Deseret News)

Author: Ryan Miller, KSL.com

Release date: December 27th

Summary: Trash talk from a San Antonio court fanatic took a turn and angered jazz player Jordan Clarkson. While the reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year loves to go back and forth with fans, everything that has been said that night went too far. Realizing the fan is not worth chasing after, Clarkson thought his money could be saved to buy his daughter a future Bugatti.

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